As we finish off the year in festive style, many people may be looking forward to one last holiday party at the end of the year (and the beginning of the next). However, if you are a frequent wine drinker, you might have noticed that your teeth looked really bad after previous holiday parties. Fortunately, there are strategies to minimize the impact of wine on your teeth, helping you enjoy less staining from wine and other sources during holiday parties and more.

Although these tips can be effective, they only work to reduce new stains. They aren’t effective at removing long-term stains. If you are unhappy with stained wine teeth overall, let cosmetic dentistry in Minneapolis help. We offer teeth whitening that can eliminate most surface stains, like wine stains. For stains that don’t respond to whitening, we offer our Minneapolis patients restorations like porcelain veneers that can cover the stains to give you a bright, beautiful smile.

wine being poured into a glass

#1 Brush Before Drinking

This is one of the most important techniques to avoid immediate staining of your teeth. You know, the stains that make your teeth look really dark immediately when you drink wine. These stains aren’t in your teeth, they’re on your teeth. Dental plaque is a combination of food residue, oral bacteria, and the protective slime that the bacteria create. Plaque is normally a pale color, essentially white, so it can blend in on your teeth.

Until you drink wine, that is. Dental plaque can act like a sponge and soak up all the color from red wine, making your teeth look immediately red, purple, or even black. Brushing your teeth before drinking removes the plaque so there’s less to soak up the stains from wine. Don’t use toothpaste if you don’t want to affect the taste of wine. A clean toothbrush is all it takes to remove plaque from your teeth.

Of course, wine can also stain tartar–hardened plaque that only gets removed during a regular checkup and cleaning by your Minneapolis dentist. If you aren’t making your regular dental checkups, you’ll notice more staining.

#2 Don’t Drink White Wine Before Red

You might think it’s a good idea to reduce staining by drinking a glass or two of white wine before switching to red. However, this can actually make staining much worse. That’s because white wine is highly acidic. All wine is acidic, but white wine tends to be 10-100 times more acidic than red wine. The acid from white wine will etch your teeth, creating tiny ridges that can trap the staining molecules from red wine.

If you start drinking white wine, then keep to it for the night, because if you do switch, it can lead to worse staining.

#3 Drink Water Alongside Wine

It’s always a good idea to space out your alcohol consumption by drinking water, too. It helps your body process alcohol and keeps you from getting too dehydrated.

Water is also good to help prevent stains on your teeth. Water dilutes the acid from wine, and can help wash away the staining molecules.

#4 Pass the Cheese

Brushing removes plaque from your teeth before you start drinking, but what can you do about the plaque that develops while you’re drinking? Eating hard cheese is a simple solution to help reduce plaque on your teeth throughout the night.

Eating cheese is almost like using a clay bar to clean a fancy car. As your teeth pass through the cheese, the cheese can rub your teeth clean, removing plaque deposits. However, the cheese is soft enough that it’s not going to damage your tooth enamel, which is softened by the acid in wine.

In addition, cheese includes proteins and minerals that can provide some instant repairs to your teeth. It’s not much, but it helps strengthen and whiten your teeth to reduce staining.

#5 Drink Through a Straw

We know that it seems terribly unfashionable to drink your wine through a straw, but consider it anyway. A straw can reduce the amount of contact between your teeth and the wine. Less contact means less acidic damage and less staining.

#6 Know When to Say When

Of course, you should always remember to drink responsibly. It isn’t just that you might have to take advantage of MVTA’s free routes across the Minneapolis area to get home safely, drinking too much can be bad for your teeth.

Dehydration can lead to a highly acidic environment in your mouth. This acidic environment not only erodes your teeth, but it also encourages the growth of oral bacteria that love an acidic environment. They also produce their own acid, increasing the damage to your teeth.

Also, stomach acid is very destructive to your teeth, so if you end up feeling ill and vomiting, you will cause some significant damage to your teeth.

#7 Don’t Brush Immediately

When you finish drinking for the night, you might feel the urge to brush your teeth immediately. However, it might be a good idea to resist that temptation. Instead, make sure you wait at least half an hour between your last glass of wine and brushing your teeth. While you wait, consider having another glass of water.

The reason for this pause is that acid can soften your tooth enamel. If you brush your teeth while your mouth is still a more acidic environment, you can erode your tooth enamel, especially if you’re using an abrasive toothpaste. (Ask Minneapolis dental office Brilliant Dentistry for toothpaste recommendations that are easier on your teeth.) If you give your body time to restore the normal acid levels in the mouth and maybe even restore some minerals to your teeth, it can reduce the damage.

Whitening Stained Teeth in Minneapolis

However, if you find that your teeth are already too stained for these strategies to protect them, let cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin Bril help. We can assess the staining of your teeth to determine whether they’ll respond to whitening or if you might benefit from a different approach like porcelain veneers.  That way, you won’t waste money on whitening techniques that won’t be helpful and could harm your teeth.

To learn how to achieve your brightest smile, please call (952) 944-2052 or use our online form to request an appointment at Brilliant Dentistry, serving the Minneapolis area from Eden Prairie, MN.