When Wine Is Not So Fine: What Every Red Wine Oenophile Can Do To Protect Their Smile

If you read magazines or watch the news, you have probably read or heard about the many health benefits that can be had just by drinking red wine. In fact, modern medical research now shows that red wine contains several antioxidant compounds that enhance heath, including:

  • resveratrol - believed to improve cardiovascular health, prevent blood clots and help slow or stop both mental and physcial aging processes
  • quercetin - believed to help patients fight some types of cancer by inducing cancer cell death
  • polyphenols - believed to help prevent some types of chronic disease
  • tannins - believed to protect against heart disease

In addition, red wine is thought to interfere with the growth and development of fat cells and even lower blood pressure, when used in moderation. 

However, red wine oenophiles should also know that drinking red wine on more than an occasional basis can also discolor and cause deterioration of their teeth. If you are a red wine lover who would like to continue to enjoy sipping a daily glass of wine, but have concerns about the effects it can have on your teeth, the following tips will help you enjoy red wine without sacrificing your dental health or your smile. 

Start With Red Wine, End With Red Wine

White wine contains high levels of acids that can erode tooth enamel. Drinking white wine before drinking red wine allows these acids to strip away the protective coating on teeth so that the tannins found in the red wine can adhere to them better and cause more staining. Avoid drinking white wine before red wine. 

Pair Fiber-Rich Foods With Red Wine

Foods that contain a lot of fiber help to clean your teeth and remove red wine stains as you eat. Salads and vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale and chard all have fiber that requires increased chewing action. This encourages your mouth to produce more saliva and when paired with the additional chewing action required for fiber-rich foods, teeth are effectively scrubbed clean of wine stains while you enjoy your meal.

Enjoy Some Cheese With Your Red Wine 

Snacking on hard cheese while drinking red wine is not only delicious, but good for your teeth. The calcium from the hard cheese builds up on the surface of your teeth, filling in the tiny openings that would otherwise allow the acids and tannins in the wine to infiltrate the enamel coating and cause tooth damage and staining.

Brush Before You Pour, Rinse After

Instead of attempting to brush away red wine stains immediately after consuming the wine, it is actually more effective and healthier for your teeth to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth an hour before you plan to enjoy a glass or two of red wine. The plaque that collects on your teeth between brushings provides a sticky surface that red wine can cling to easily. By removing this plaque before drinking, the wine will be less likely to stick to your teeth and form stains.

In addition, the acids found in all types of wine, including red, can soften the surface of your teeth. This can cause them to suffer abrasions when brushing and flossing are done too soon after being exposed to the wine. Instead, choose to rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water immediately after drinking red wine. This will help dilute both the acids and the tannins to minimize damage and staining from the wine.

If your teeth are stained or damaged from drinking red wine or any other reason, make an appointment with a reputable cosmetic dentist in your area or look into additional reading. They will be able to help you find the best options for removing stains and dealing with acid damage from the wine.