Why does wine stain teeth? – Bittner Dental Clinic

Red Wine, White Wine, and Your Teeth

If you’re an avid wine drinker, chances are your teeth have suffered the consequences. Like coffee, drinking wine (both red AND white) can leave behind unattractive stains and have other negative effects on your teeth.
Here’s why:

Why Does Red wine stain teeth?

  1. Colors and Pigments The main cause of staining from red wine is from these things called “chromogens”. These are pigment-producing substances abundant in red wine that can adhere on to dental enamel and stain teeth. Tannins in red wine and drinks we consume also help chromogens bind to the teeth, leaving unattractive stains.
  2. Acidity Less obvious than the fact that red wine stains teeth, is that white wine can also yellow your teeth. One of the reasons for this is because white wine is highly acidic.  “High acidity can slowly erode your enamel away (the white part of the teeth) to cause more dentin (the sensitive yellow part of the teeth) to show through, causing the appearance of yellow teeth.”
  3. Wear and Tear As you age, your teeth wear and develop microscopic cracks. These cracks allow the chromogens and tannins from wine to penetrate the enamel and leave hard-to-clean stains. Similar to a cracked tile floor, it is tough to remove surface stains with regular cleaning. Often the solution is to use bleach (in the case of teeth, carbamide peroxide).

Tips to protect your teeth from wine:

  1. Don’t brush right away As we explained earlier, wine is very acidic. Brushing your teeth immediately after drinking wine while your mouth is still acidic can cause more damage. So if you can, wait 30 minutes after enjoying a glass to brush. Pairing wine with cheese can also minimize the acidity’s damage to your teeth.
  2. Drink through a straw This might be a stretch for wine connoisseurs… But if it doesn’t ruin the experience for you, this is a great way to reduce the wine’s contact with your teeth.
  3. Don’t let it linger Part of the experience of enjoying a good glass is to let sip slow, but the longer the wine is in contact with your enamel, the more staining & erosion will occur. So try not to let your wine stay in your mouth for too long!