While the jury remains out about the potential heart healthy benefits of red wine, there is no question that alcohol could have a detrimental effect on one’s oral health. Unfortunately, wine can be one of the worst drinks when it comes to threatening the overall health of your teeth.
Alcoholic drinks such as red wine can not only leave a mark on your teeth, but can also cause hard-to-repair damage. Alcoholic drinks are troublesome because of their acidity, which can hurt enamel and leave the teeth vulnerable to harmful bacteria.
Does white wine stain teeth more than red?
Think making the switch to drinking only white wine will avoid unsightly stains and damage? Think again. Both white and red wine contain erosive acids that can damage enamel. White wine does not have chromogens—which is a plus—but white wine is more acidic than red. Eventually this high acidity can cause the same or even more damage to your teeth, as well as discoloration because the acid in white wine breaks down your enamel, opening a pathway for other foods and beverages to stain your teeth.
Moreover, alcoholic drinks that contain carbonation can have an even greater negative impact on your oral health. The carbonic acid—derived from the carbon dioxide that creates the effervescence in sparkling wines, for example—can wear away enamel. This, in turn, makes teeth more susceptible to cavities. Plus, all alcohol causes dry-mouth which can quickly lead to tooth decay.
Non-alcoholic beverages can also wreak havoc
Notably, alcoholic drinks are not the only beverages that can harm your teeth. Other drinks such as acidic juices, sports drinks, soda and coffee can also have harmful effects. Darker juices—like grape, cranberry, and prune—are especially accountable for muddying your pearly whites. And while darker sodas obviously tarnish liquids, the citric acid in clear sodas can also contribute to problems.
While not a complete solution, drinking water between acidic beverages can help to reduce acidity in your mouth, and this may offer some protection for the enamel. Thorough brushing also is important, provided you wait at least 30 minutes after consuming an acidic drink or meal, which gives time for the acid to dissipate.
How do I keep my teeth from staining?
Prevention is key to fight the blemishes and avoiding stains from developing on your teeth. The following tips are beneficial to keep your teeth looking their best:
- Limit your intake of high acidic beverages.
- Wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth after drinking an acidic or sugary beverage.
- Chew sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva production.
- Rather than abstaining or sipping throughout the day, designate specific break times to enjoy your drink.
- Rinse your mouth with water after consuming your beverage.
If you like to have a glass of wine, just make sure to brush thoroughly and floss before you go to bed. If you notice severe staining or erosion, it might be time to schedule an appointment with an AAID-credentialed dentist.
Dentists consulted for this article include David G. Hochberg, DDS, DABOI, FAAID of Colony Square Dental Associates in Atlanta, GA and Robert J. Stanley, DDS, DABOI/ID of Stanley Dentistry in Cary, NC.
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