Just in time for the holiday season of parties and celebrations we have some tips for preventing the dreaded “purple teeth” wine lovers often deal with after consuming red wine.
Red wine plus many foods and drinks contain a high level of chromogens, a pigment that stains teeth. Berries, tea, and coffee are examples of foods and drinks that are high in chromogens.
Some wine drinkers who want to avoid teeth stains substitute white wine for red, which according to a recent study at NYU is worse for the situation. It has be shown that white wine is more acidic, eating away at tooth enamel allowing staining pigments to penetrate deeper into your teeth, increasing your chances of developing permanent tooth discoloration.
Fortunately, there are ways to slow down the tooth erosion and discoloration caused by drinking wine. Here are some ways you vino lovers can protect your teeth:
Eat smart. Pair your wine with foods that have low acid content and high fiber. Nuts, spinach, non-acidic fruits and vegetables and cheese are excellent options, which cause your mouth to produce more saliva and scrub stains away as you chew.
Rinse during and after drinking. The common practice of rolling wine over your tongue puts acid in contact with more teeth. Rinsing your mouth out with water and especially sparkling water neutralizes acid throughout the mouth and bubbles away stains.
Chew gum. Chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes also activates saliva and helps wash away stains.
Brush before you drink – not right after. The abrasives in toothpaste can further damage enamel that’s weakened by acid. Brushing before you drink helps eliminate plaque that wine will cling to staining your teeth. For brushing after you drink wait 30 minutes to an hour before brushing after drinking wine.
Emergency fix for wine stained teeth.
If your teeth are grape-tinged and you are suddenly asked to give a toast to the boss at the corporate dinner, make a beeline to the bar and ask the bartender for a lime slice. Rub it gently against your teeth and lips, and watch the stains disappear. WARNING: Use this method only for emergencies since the high acid content of citrus fruits can wear down tooth enamel over time.
The good news is that many types of tooth stains are treatable. Laser teeth whitening can safely remove years of staining from your teeth in about an hour. For more stubborn or intrinsic stains, porcelain veneers may be a better option.
The best bet is to schedule an appointment with Annapolis dentists Dr. Finlay or Dr. Lim to determine which treatment is right for you!