Can Wine Darken Your Teeth?

Too much wine isn’t good for anyone, but some research suggests that an occasional glass of red wine can provide you with antioxidants, reduce inflammation and promote longevity. But what about your teeth? Will it stain your pearly whites? We crowdsourced this question to a panel of professionals. Read on to learn more about the effects of wine on your smile.

Lisa Richards

Lisa Richards is a nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet. She has been featured on Today, US News, Women’s Health magazine, Huffington Post, Healthline, the San Francisco Chronicle, Reader’s Digest, Lifehack, Insider, and Well+Good, among others.

Can cause discoloration

Wine, red wine specifically, can cause discoloration of teeth from the dyes, tannins, and acid it contains. Drinking water between glasses of wine and eating hard food, like apples or celery, can help clean your teeth if you're unable to brush your teeth right after. These acts will also help you avoid a wine headache and other side effects by giving you extra hydration. Strong and healthy enamel can help prevent teeth darkening from drinking wine. Some dairy foods like cheese and milk can strengthen your enamel to keep your teeth white.

Joseph Salim

Dr. Joseph Salim, DMD

Dr. Joseph Salim is a general and cosmetic dentist from NY. He is the founder and owner of Sutton Place Dental Associates, a multi-specialty dental practice.

Can etch and stain

Due to its acidic nature, wine can etch and stain your teeth.

Here are some tips to protect them:

  • Drinking through a straw minimizes contact;
  • Chewing sugarless gums decrease the acidity of saliva;
  • Drinking water will dilute your saliva's acidity;
  • Eating cheese will coat your teeth with natural wax, covering its pores.

Using proper whitening products also helps to restore your chompers' color.

Nikola Djordjevic

Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD

Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD, medical advisor at HealthCareers.

Can affect your teeth

Wine is an all-time favorite drink in many cultures that has a lot of health benefits and negative side effects as well if you overdo it. One of these side effects is that wine can affect your teeth, primarily by staining. Wine has acids that can create rough spots on your teeth over time, affecting the enamel and allowing bad bacteria to invade your teeth easily. Then, when you go drink another beverage like tea or coffee, your teeth are going to be easily stained by the dark tint of these drinks due to the pores and grooves created by the acid in the wine—especially red wine, which has red pigments known as anthocyanins, giving the wine its red color in addition to tannins and other natural pigments. When you drink red wine, your teeth will be affected by both the red color and the acidity of the wine. This combination stains your teeth with a red color that over time can become more brown, blue, grey, or even purple in the worst case. So, try to drink wine with moderation, do not overuse it to avoid its side effects, and never forget to brush your teeth before and after drinking it to avoid stains.

John Andersen

Dr. John Andersen, DBA

John Andersen, DBA, President The Periogen Company.

Quite acidic

Yes, wine, particularly red wine, will stain teeth as it has strong pigments and is quite acidic in nature. Also, the enamel on teeth is not perfectly smooth and, as a result, may accelerate the staining process. In addition to that, you may have some plaque and tartar deposits that will stain as well.

Plaque is a sticky film made up of saliva and food particles that starts forming within hours of brushing, while dental tartar is simply the plaque that has calcified (hardened) onto teeth and is quite porous and stains easily. Interestingly, acidic liquids such as wine, soda, and even some mouth rinses can accelerate the hardening of plaque into dental tartar that will only worsen the staining process.

Additionally, porous dental tartar provides a habitat for the bad bacteria to thrive, and as this tartar grows down into the gum line along with the tooth, symptoms of gum disease begin as your body battles the building periodontal infection.

Ironically, the deeper the infection in your gum line the more insulated the bacteria become from mouth rinse treatments, and even prescription mouth rinse can become ineffective. It will then be up to your dentist to determine a treatment plan. Periodontal disease can become a chronic infection and has been associated with everything from heart disease to dementia.

The best prevention for wine discoloration of teeth is to keep your mouth clean and healthy through good daily oral care that includes keeping plaque and tartar deposits off your teeth and seeing your dentist regularly.

Giuseppe Aragona

Dr. Giuseppe Aragona

Dr. Giuseppe Aragona, General Practitioner and Family Doctor at Prescription Doctor.

Can stain your teeth

Wine can stain your teeth, to put it simply. Wine is very acidic, meaning that it etches your enamel, making it more porous, and therefore allows the colour of the wine to go on your teeth and stain them. White wine is even more acidic than red but does not stain your teeth because it is white.

All in all, if you are looking to drink wine more often, I would suggest switching to white wine where possible, to avoid any staining that could happen. Eating while you drink can also help to avoid staining, as well as having water in between glasses.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.