While everyone knows that frequent smoking and coffee-drinking can leave a lasting impression on your smile, less people realize that wine is just as able to stain teeth as a cup of coffee or a drag from a cigarette. The real question is how to go about dealing with staining of the teeth as a result of drinking wine. Provided below is a lengthy and thorough breakdown of everything you would want to know in order to strike a healthy balance of keeping a bright, white smile and being able to enjoy your favorite bottle.
Defining "Wine Stains"
Beverages like coffee and wine are rich in chromogens, rich pigments that are great for discoloring teeth after only a few drinks. If you ever get curious enough to test the texture of your teeth, such as by running a finger over them, you may come away with the impression that teeth are smooth objects like a dish or a wine glass. The reality of the situation is that teeth, at least the outermost later, known as enamel, is saturated with thousands of tiny pores-the perfect venue for all those chromogens to settle in for the long haul.
While the obvious first step in avoiding wine stains on the teeth is to never drink at all, that solution prevents you from drinking wine ever again and is not the real goal of this article. There are several things you can do before you take your first sip that can mitigate your chances of staining your teeth.
Stick to Drinking White Wine
While this may not always be a solution as certain wines go best with certain foods, white wine does not leave a dark red coloring on your teeth and lips after a few drinks.
Maintain Good Dental Hygiene
Never leave the house without having first brushed your teeth as free as you can of tartar and plaque. While this is good advice in general, its relevance to dental staining is because tartar and plaque are excellent surfaces to attract chromogens. Tartar is the hardened mass that results when bacteria within the mouth are allowed to go about their detrimental business across your without your intervention with some toothpaste and a brush.
If you want to go the extra mile you will want the following items.
By making these items part of your regular oral hygiene routine, you are primed to reduce how much staining you may endure as you enjoy yourself and your wine.
A Note on Lip Staining
While wine can stain the teeth, it can also color the very lips that conceal them from the world. Lips that are cracked or dry are even more likely to become hydrated by your delicious flavored liquid and take on the coloring as it saturates the cells of your lips. Avoid staining your lips by keeping them hydrated, possibly even resorting to a petroleum-based gloss or even a swab of Vaseline across the teeth to hydrate them from the rear while also putting up another layer of protection from the staining compounds found in red wine.
Stain Removing Dental Wipes
If you catch that your mouth or teeth have turned several shades of dark red, consider using a commercial oral stain removing wipe. Just one brief pass of one wipe over the discolored area and it is like you applied a magic eraser to the whole issue. If you are operating on a budget, consider the frugal trick of discretely wiping your teeth with a cloth napkin-an easy task if you are dining at a restaurant or dinner table.
Keep Some Mini-Toothbrushes Ready
These little miracles provide all of the stain-removing power of the wipes mentioned earlier in this article while also helping to freshen your breath and leave an even better first impression with people when schmoozing. These can also be something to keep on hand in situations when you either cannot be bothered to take a proper toothbrush and toothpaste with you or you would look odd carrying those around.
This is nothing more than a device that allows you to overwrite the red stains of a fine wine with some dental whitener. In effect, this is like White-Out for your teeth without any of the nasty chemical concerns; just give the pen a few clicks to activate the chemicals within and run them over the red spots with the other end.
Not every trick to dealing with dental staining is solved through the use of chemicals or tools. Provided below is a trio of things that you can consume to mitigate wine stains on your chompers.
There is a reason why wine tends to be paired so often with cheese. Noshing on some cheese before taking a sip of the wine is an excellent way of giving your teeth a boost of calcium content. Since calcium is what helps close up all of those tiny pores found along the entirety of the enamel layer of your teeth, a little chunk of cheddar or Swiss will force the ensuing chromogens and tannins to go somewhere else, like on your tongue or down your throat, to find a resting spot.
Wine contains more than just tannins and chromogens; it is also rather acidic. While saliva has a neutral pH and can counteract some of the tooth-weakening acidity of wine, wine is also astringent, meaning that it can dehydrate the mouth and diminish your ability to generate sufficient saliva. Popping a stick of chewing gum into your mouth and giving it a few chews can keep your saliva going while also reducing the tooth-weakening effects of the wine's acidic pH level.
Water or Seltzer
If you do not happen to have any sugar-free gum on hand, pick up a routine of alternating between wine and one of these liquids, like if you were at a professional tasting event. Both of these liquids help counteract the dehydration incurred from drinking alcohol, help prevent a hangover the morning after drinking and even wash away the wine before it can hang around long enough to leave stains.
Whitening Treatments While At Home
While all of the prior tricks and devices can be done while out at an event, the next few suggestions entail solutions when you are stuck at home and want your video call or date night to go well after drinking. Both of these solutions are presented with the proviso that they do not offer the same level of effectiveness as seeking a whitening treatment from an oral care professional.
Whitening toothpastes are specially formulated to eradicate stains that may have formed on your teeth over time. They also work well to reduce the chances of new stains from forming. Note that these sorts of toothpastes reduce but do not eradicate the chances of red wine leaving one or more stains on your smile.
These little strips slip over your teeth and work great when you need a whitening in between oral care sessions. In addition to being certified by the American Dental Association as a risk-free and effective form of oral care, they are more reliable than whitening trays; trays can over-pressure the gums to an unhealthy degree and leave you with something more concerning in your mouth than just a little red on your teeth.
Red wine may be delicious but its color comes from compounds like tannins and chromogens; compounds that like to cling along the many pores that line the enamel of each and every tooth.
If you have ever worried about making a bad first impression because you decided to savor a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Tempranillo or even a Grenache right before meeting someone, you can rest easy knowing that there is not one solution to the issue of staining your teeth from drinking red wine, you actually have several options, some of which are even edible.
While keeping a rigorous routine of good oral hygiene can do a lot of the heavy lifting in keeping your smile stain-free, try to slip one or more of the above solutions into your purse or wallet and also remember to try any cheese before you take your first sip of vino rosso.