Erin Doman on November 23, 2015 1 Comment Red wine, rich in antioxidants, is thought to have a lot of terrific health benefits. If consumed in moderation, it might be able to lower your risk of heart disease, prevent stroke, work to prevent cancer cells from spreading, and has shown evidence that would suggest it might prevent progressive age-related diseases. There are even studies that show drinking a glass of red wine might even offer similar heart benefits that you would gain from exercise. Not only that, but it’s delicious, and the right bottle can enhance your enjoyment of a meal, cheese, or chocolate. The one thing red wine isn’t going to do, though, is improve the appearance of your smile. The acids in wine can etch the enamel on your teeth, preparing them for staining, and the tannins that help create that gorgeous ruby color of your favorite Merlot are also responsible for turning your teeth purple. Don’t let worries about your teeth prevent you from indulging in your favorite wine. There are a lot of things you can do if you are worried about how to prevent red wine stains on your teeth. 1. See Your Dentist Regularly The enamel on your teeth helps protect them from stains, so see your dentist regularly to have your teeth cleaned and take care of any problems before they start. Having healthy teeth to begin with is going to go a long way toward preventing stains and having a great smile. 2. Eat Your Way to Stronger Teeth Along with seeing your dentist regularly, there are foods you can eat that will build strong teeth. Foods rich in calcium, like milk and cheese, along with leafy greens, legumes, and seafood help to strengthen the enamel. Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium, and is found in egg yolks, cheese, and cod oil or tuna. Most milk and yogurt is fortified with Vitamin D as well. Vitamin A helps to build strong teeth and bones, and can be found in fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, squashes, and bell peppers. 3. Brush Your Teeth Before You Drink Granted, if you brush your teeth right before you drink, your palate probably won’t appreciate the blend of peppermint with Pinot noir. But brushing about an hour before you drink can keep red wine from clinging to the plaque, tartar, or any hidden debris on your teeth. And since you usually brush your teeth before you go out anyway, this one should be pretty easy to incorporate into your routine. 4. Don’t Brush Your Teeth Right After You Drink You’re probably thinking that brushing your teeth right after drinking red wine is the best way to rid your mouth of those stains, but that turns out to be a bad idea. The high acid levels in the wine you just drank are going to end up working with your toothbrush to cause more abrasion in the enamel, leaving them susceptible to long-term damage. Eventually, of course, you’re going to brush your teeth again. Just make sure to drink some water or eat something to stimulate your saliva and help rinse away the wine left in your mouth before you attack your teeth with a toothbrush. 5. Stay Hydrated The longer the red wine has been in contact with your teeth, the more likely it is to stain them. Alternating a glass of wine with a glass of water can help prevent the buildup of wine–and staying hydrated can help prevent a hangover, too. Some sources even recommend swishing carbonated water instead of plain drinking water. The idea is that the fizz in club soda will help scrub away the wine left behind, similar to how it works when you spill something on your shirt. 6. Avoid White Wine It seems counter-intuitive. How could white wine cause the staining of your teeth? It turns out that the higher acidity of most white wines will strip the natural protection of your teeth and make them more susceptible to staining by red wine and other foods. If you’re not ready to give up white wine entirely, at least avoid drinking white wine immediately before red, and use the other tips mentioned here to help rid your mouth of those acids when drinking white wine, as well. 7. Eat While You Drink It turns out, pairing cheese with wine isn’t just a delicious way to bring out the nuances of both the cheese and the wine. Eating cheese as you sip wine is said to close the micro-pores on your teeth, which helps to keep the wine from sticking and staining. Hard cheeses are best, plus they have more calcium, which, as mentioned earlier, helps to build up your enamel. High fiber foods that require a lot of chewing and stimulate saliva are another good bet, as saliva is a natural way for your mouth to cleanse itself. So saliva-stimulating foods work both to increase the saliva in your mouth while helping to cleanse the tannins from your teeth. 8. Be Wary of Tooth Whitening Products Unfortunately, some tooth whitening products work by stripping the stained enamel from your teeth, which will make them temporarily whiter, but also might make them more susceptible to stains. Popular home remedies, like baking soda and lemon juice, are especially bad for your teeth. The lemon juice, with its high acidity, combines with the abrasive qualities of the baking soda to really do a number on your teeth. Always do your research on any tooth whitening procedures you’re considering to make sure they aren’t going to cause more long-term damage. If the product carries a warning that it may cause tooth sensitivity, that’s a pretty good indication that it’s removing some enamel. With all of the health benefits that red wine has to offer, not to mention the enjoyment that savoring a favorite vintage can bring, there’s no reason to give up on it just to protect your teeth. If you use the tips mentioned above that tell you how to prevent red wine stains on your teeth, there’s no reason you can’t share a good bottle of wine with friends whenever the mood strikes.