Nothing goes better with the holidays than a glass of wine. The problem is that by midway through the evening, you may be regretting that choice because it can make your teeth discolour–as bad as or worse than having lipstick on your teeth. You might be considering giving up red wine altogether, but you really don’t want to. Plus, you notice that one of your friends seems to drink wine all night long, with barely any tooth discolouration. It seems so unfair.
It is a little unfair, but there are reasons why red wine sticks to some people’s teeth, but not others’.
Choice of Wine
One thing to consider is which wine you’re choosing. This isn’t just as simple as red or white. While the colour of red wine contributes to the staining, other aspects, such as the acidity and the level of tannins contribute to the staining.
The question is: why do the staining molecules in wine stick to your teeth? Part of the reason is the acidity of the wine. Acid etches your teeth. Instead of a smooth surface that can repel stains, you end up with a rough surface that tends to catch those staining molecules, which makes your teeth turn red faster–and stay discoloured longer.
Another problem is the level of tannins in the wine. Sure, you may love the rich flavour of a high-tannin wine, but tannin molecules are great at binding. They can bind to staining compounds in the wine, and then bind to your teeth or to plaque (more below). If you’re drinking a wine that’s high in tannins, you’re more likely to see your teeth turn red than someone who’s drinking a low-tannin wine.
Other Beverages of Choice
But wine isn’t the only part of the equation. We mentioned acidity above, but wine isn’t the only drink that’s full of acid. If you regularly drink other strongly acidic beverages, such as soda, kombucha, or sports drinks, your teeth can get badly etched and eroded. This sets them up for worse staining.
The other side of the acid problem is your natural tooth enamel. Not all enamel is equally resistant to acid attack. If you drink fluoridated water regularly and use toothpaste with fluoride, your teeth can incorporate fluoride to make the enamel stronger. This can make them more resistant to attack by the acid in wine or other beverages.
Good hygiene can also help your teeth resist staining. Hygiene helps in many ways. First, it protects your teeth from acid attack by bacteria that live in your mouth and cling to your teeth. Second, it can remove plaque from your teeth before you start drinking. Plaque starts off white or translucent, but it quickly picks up stains from sources like wine.
Finally, by removing plaque regularly, it slows the buildup of tartar, a hard substance made up of “fossilized” plaque that can also get stained.
Better Diet, Better Hygiene, and Regular Dental Visits
You may not have to give up your beloved wine to avoid wine teeth at parties. Instead, you can reduce your teeth’s likelihood of staining by making a better choice of wine, making sure you don’t consume too many acidic foods and drinks, and keeping your teeth clean. Making sure your teeth get enough fluoride can also help, and regular dental visits help, too.
We can give your teeth a thorough cleaning, including removing tartar from your teeth. We can also check your enamel to make sure it’s healthy. And we give your teeth a polish, which can make the surface smoother and better at repelling stains.
Plus, we can treat teeth that have become more permanently discoloured. We offer options like teeth whitening or veneers, depending on the severity of the problem.