Does Brushing Your Teeth Reduce Red Wine Stains?

Dentist Blog

The enamel on your teeth is not completely smooth; it may have tiny cracks and pits in it that can pick up colours from strongly coloured food and drink. If you're a red wine lover, you may be battling against the staining that your favourite tipple leaves on your teeth. While maintaining good teeth-cleaning habits such as brushing your teeth twice a day may go some way to help, you may not be able to avoid some staining, especially if you're a regular red wine drinker. However, an extra brushing session may be useful in some circumstances.

When Brushing Helps

It's worth adding an additional brush to your dental care routine before you drink red wine. This gets rid of any residual plaque that has built up on your teeth between your regular morning/evening brushing sessions.

For example, if you're planning a night out, you may be able to reduce red wine staining by brushing and flossing your teeth before you head out and start drinking. This cleans off your natural daily buildup of plaque, leaving the surface of your teeth clean and smooth. If you drink red wine when you have plaque on your teeth, the plaque gives the wine a sticky surface to cling to. Once the wine sticks, it is more likely to stain.

When Brushing Is a Bad Idea

Although you may think that cleaning your teeth after you drink red wine is a good way to avoid staining, this may lead to other problems if you don't get your timing right.

Red wine is acidic. When you drink a glass, its acids sit on your teeth for a while weakening your enamel. If you brush your teeth too soon after drinking a glass of wine before your mouth has had a chance to neutralise the acids, you risk damaging the enamel. According to ABC Health & Wellbeing, it's best to leave a gap of at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after consuming something acidic.

Tip: If you've had a big night out and can't face waiting 30 minutes to brush your teeth, try to at least rinse your mouth out with water before you go to bed. While not as good as brushing, this will help move any residual wine off your teeth. Smearing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste may also help counteract any acids left in your mouth.

Red Wine Drinking Tips:

There are other ways to minimise staining from red wine. For example, the following tips may help keep stains off your teeth:

  • Drink some water after each glass of wine. This helps wash the wine and its acids off your teeth.
  • Try not to hold wine in your mouth for too long; it's better to just swallow it than to expose your teeth to it for prolonged periods. If you can stand looking a little odd, drinking wine through a straw also helps keep the drink off your teeth.
  • Try to get into the habit of eating while you drink. A few cubes of a hard cheese may help your teeth neutralise the wine's acid and have a slight scrubbing effect on your teeth that may clean off stains before they take hold.

If you already have red wine staining, it's worth visiting your dentist to have your teeth professionally cleaned. If you carry on drinking red wine, the stains may get worse over time.


22 March 2016

Dental Health: Not To Be Taken For Granted

As a retired dentist, I work with charities which visit developing countries and educate children about dental care. It gives me great satisfaction to revisit these communities and see how proud the children are of their efforts. I am acutely aware that good dental hygiene can help prevent a range of serious conditions when these children become older. I started this blog because it greatly distresses me that many people in Australia do not seem to care for their teeth as much as children in these poor communities. This is happening despite ready access to items like toothbrushes and toothpaste which are luxuries in the places I visit. It is my hope that this blog encourages you not to take dental health for granted. My greatest wish is that you can be as inspired as the children I see in my charity work. Please read on and enjoy.