How Does White Wine Affect Your Teeth?
For wine lovers, there’s nothing like enjoying a glass of wine in the evening or sharing a bottle with friends on the weekend. Drinking wine is often thought to be relaxing and a good way to socialize. Everyone has a different flavor preference, but typically people are drawn to either red or white wine.
Some people prefer to drink white wine over red wine to avoid staining their teeth. Many see how it can discolor their lips, teeth, and tongue so they don’t want their teeth to be permanently stained by the dark color drink. Since you can’t notice a change of color in your mouth, most people assume white wine won’t stain their teeth. This assumption is actually false.
White Wine Is Highly Acidic
When choosing drinks that don’t stain your teeth, leave white wine off the list. Although this type of wine is light in color and doesn’t immediately stain your teeth like red wine or coffee, studies show that white wine leaves your teeth vulnerable to staining.
If white wine is practically colorless, why can our teeth still become stained after drinking it? The answer is simple — white wine is a highly acidic drink. It contains malic acid and tartaric acid and ranks higher than red wine on the pH scale. While not all white wines have both of these acids and some blends are more acidic than others, the majority of white wines are more acidic than red wines with the exception of some sweet red blends.
The high acidity levels in white wine cause it to eat at your tooth’s enamel– the protective layer that prevents your teeth from becoming discolored. When the enamel starts to dissolve, it becomes rough and uneven. If you drink certain dark-colored food or drinks after enjoying white wine, the rough ridges make it easier for them to stain your teeth.
White Wine Causes Tooth Decay
The acidity in white wine doesn’t only assist with staining, but it can also lead to tooth decay. When tooth enamel begins wearing away, the tooth itself becomes weaker. Stripping the enamel causes the tooth to lose calcium which is essential for strengthing and protecting the tooth from decay.
White wine is also high in sugar. This is because it contains both grapes and alcohol, which are both known to have large sugar quantities. While red wines are often less bitter and contain less added sugar, white wine can contain larger amounts of sugar to ensure a sweeter taste.
Drinking large amounts of white wine can cause bacteria to build up due to high sugar quantities and also because alcohol, in general, can make your mouth dry. If proper oral hygiene routines aren’t implemented, the wine can cause your teeth to decay more and more over time. If you notice your teeth decaying at an alarming rate, contact a dentist such as Dr. Reger to see what he can do for you.
How You Can Protect Your Teeth From White Wine
White wine is a delicious and go-to alcoholic drink for many adults. People who drink white wine often drink it for its sweetness and prefer it over bitter options such as red wine. It’s not impossible to maintain healthy teeth and still consume white wine, as long as you take the right protective measures.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
The effects of wine can happen fairly quickly, so it’s important to keep up with good oral care throughout the day. This routine looks a little different after enjoying a glass of wine. Dentists, such as Dr. Allain, recommend rinsing your mouth out with water immediately after consuming wine. This will ensure the acids and sugars are washed away and can’t seep farther into your teeth.
After thoroughly rinsing with water, dentists still recommend waiting 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to ensure there’s no acid left on your teeth. One source even recommends brushing before you drink to remove any residual plaque.
Use a Straw To Drink
While wine is traditionally sipped directly from the glass, but using a straw may actually help your teeth. This action allows you to use your lips and tongue to drink the wine, causing the wine to touch very little of your teeth. In fact, wine-loving moms created reusable straws made specifically for their favorite beverage.
Eat While Drinking
Drinking wine with meals or having snacks on hand while drinking wine can save your teeth, as well. The food absorbs the acids in the wine before they become embedded in your teeth. A cheese platter is an excellent option and is often served at wineries and wine bars to compliment the wine.
Consider Cosmetic Dentistry
Drinking wine is often used as a way to socialize, so remembering to rinse or eat between bites are often low priorities for people during these times. If you’ve consumed a lot of wine over the years that have caused permanent damage to your teeth, cosmetic dentists such as Dr. Shlafer offer services such as veneers to cover stained teeth.
The Final Verdict
While white wine doesn’t stain teeth on their own, you’re much more likely to acquire white when following the beverage with a dark-colored food or beverage. If white wine is something you enjoy, there’s no need to give it up, and dentists recommend that you follow their preventive tips instead.