The weekend has arrived—which, if past experience holds true, means the clinking of wine glasses may be in your near future. Also in your future: the unsightly result of purple-tinged teeth after your third glass of Pinot Noir (along with a strong urge to find a karaoke bar and start singing Madonna's "Like A Virgin"). The latter we can’t help with, but we can intervene with your wine-teeth predicament.
Ahead, seven tricks to keep your pearly whites pearly and white—even in the face of one of its greatest foes. So you can smile back at the charming stranger across the room without scaring them off. Cheers!
Read on to learn our top seven fail-safe tricks to avoid wine-stained teeth.
Brush Before, Not After
Your first instinct after looking at your purple-toothed smile in the mirror may be to immediately reach for your toothbrush—don’t. Brushing your teeth right after drinking wine can damage your tooth enamel since the high acidity of wine make your teeth super sensitive to abrasion. Instead, brush your teeth an hour or so before. Why? Wine clings to and stains the plaque in your teeth, so brushing it away before you drink may decrease your chances of a wine-stained smile.
Drinking sparkling water between glasses of wine will not only ensure that you don't get carried out of the restaurant at the end of your meal (ahem) but may also keep wine stains at bay. Swish it around in your mouth and allow the bubbles to loosen up and scrub away the stains.
Wine and cheese go together like a smoky eye and nude lip, for more reasons than one. Eating cheese helps build calcium, helps rid your mouth of debris, and protects teeth from acids. It may even close the tiny micro-pores on the surface—a.k.a. make it way more difficult for wine to stain your teeth.
That spinach salad you ordered as an appetizer? Chomp away with vigor. Foods with high fiber content, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes, might help your mouth produce more saliva and scrub away the stains as you chew.
No White Wine Before
We’ve all been there—we start with white wine to “take things slow”, and the next thing we know, we’re guzzling Pinot Noir like there’s no tomorrow. Try to avoid this at all costs—mainly because the acidity of white wine erodes your enamel and may act as a primer, making the red wine tannins “stick” to your teeth more. But also because, you know, self-control.
Post-Wine: Wipe It Up
So you tried to keep all these things in mind, but the Syrah was just too good—no judgment. If you’re a serious wino, might we suggest wine wipes, like these by The Vanity Project. Use them before and after your wine-scapades to keep your teeth bright.
Post-Wine: The Lime Trick
We’ll start this off with a warning: use this trick very sparingly. The high acidity of citrus fruits like limes can wear down your tooth enamel over time, so only employ this in case of emergency. If your teeth are grape-tinged and you suddenly remember that, say, you have to give a toast to the bride in front of hundreds of people, 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. But, like we said: in case of emergency only.
George R, Chell A, Chen B, Undery R, Ahmed H. Dental erosion and dentinal sensitivity amongst professional wine tasters in South East Queensland, Australia. ScientificWorldJournal. 2014;2014:516975. doi:10.1155/2014/516975
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Fast facts.
American Dental Association MouthHealthy. Top 9 foods that damage your teeth.