It might seem like a good idea to reach for your toothbrush right after drinking wine to protect your teeth from staining and to freshen your breath from residual tannins. But counterintuitive as it may sound, brushing too soon after your last sip of wine (red or white) can actually hurt your teeth and make them more vulnerable to damage.
When Is the Ideal Time to Brush Your Teeth After Drinking Wine?
Red wine consumption is usually at the top of the list of worst offenders when it comes to food and drinks that stain your teeth and dull your smile over time. So it’s only natural that your first instinct might be to reach for your toothbrush and favorite whitening toothpaste to launch a counterattack as soon as you are done drinking.
However, according to a study, the acidity in wine can weaken the enamel layer, actually making your teeth more vulnerable to staining and tooth decay. When you factor in the fact that alcohol dries out your mouth and limits the flow of saliva (which is a powerful weapon against bacteria buildup and tooth decay), our teeth become sitting ducks.
What to Do Instead
Dentists recommend waiting at least an hour after you’ve taken your last sip to brush your teeth to give the enamel time to recover from the wine’s acidity. Brush too soon, and you risk scrubbing away more than wine residue.
Is White Wine Safer for My Teeth Than Red Wine? (In a Word, No)
Every wine varietal is different, but generally speaking, white wine is more acidic than red, increasing the risk of enamel damage. So even though you’re drinking a clear alcohol, the wear and tear on the enamel layer of your teeth will make them more susceptible to stains in the long term (like when you have that cup of coffee or tea for breakfast in the morning).
How to Protect Your Smile From Red Wine Teeth
So does this mean that you have to give up your favorite drinks in order to protect your teeth? Not necessarily. Enjoying alcohol in moderation is always the best approach for both your general and oral health. In order to make the most of your wine drinking during the holidays and throughout the year, without paying the price with your smile, take a few precautions to help keep your teeth safe while you drink:
- Brush and floss: Do this before eating and drinking to clear away residual plaque and bacteria that can interact with the acids in your wine.
- Have a nosh: Eating between drinks keeps the saliva flowing and the wine from accumulating on your teeth (and may even reduce the risk of a hangover in the morning).
- Rinse with water: As you wait to brush your teeth, you can hydrate and freshen your mouth by rinsing with plain water, which is perfectly safe for your teeth and gums.
Regular Dental Care for Healthy Teeth and Gums
The American Dental Association (ADA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend going to the dentist for a checkup and dental cleaning every six months to reduce your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral and general health problems. Find the best discount dental plan from DentalSave for your needs to begin saving 20 percent to 50 percent off dental treatment and services today.