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If you are like millions of people, you love red wine, but you don’t like how it stains your teeth. Merlot, burgundy, pinot and other types of red wine contain acids, tannins, and natural dyes – all of which can turn your teeth a soft purple color. In time, red wine can turn your teeth an unattractive brown, blue, dingy gray, or purple color. Fortunately, you can take steps to keep red wine from staining those pearly whites.

Ways to Prevent Red Wine from Discoloring Your Teeth

Brush Before – Not After

Brushing immediately after drinking red wine can damage your tooth enamel. While tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your entire body, acids can weaken the enamel to make your teeth more vulnerable. The grapes used to make red wine contain tartaric acid, which is an incredibly durable acid, so it tends to remain on and start to damage your tooth enamel after you finish drinking wine. Furthermore, wine clings to the clear, sticky layer of plaque that develops on your teeth.

If you brush immediately after drinking wine, you risk damaging the enamel when it’s in its most vulnerable state. Brushing before you enjoy a glass removes the plaque wine clings to.

Eat Cheese and Fiber

Cheese and fiber are an important part of a healthy diet, and they can prevent red wine from causing stains. Cheese contains calcium that keeps your bones strong, but it also helps to strengthen tooth enamel. Fiber keeps your digestive tract running smoothly. Crunching on spinach, broccoli and other high-fiber foods produces more saliva that washes away stains.

Drink Sparkling Seltzer or Water between Glasses

Drinking a little sparkling seltzer or water between glasses of vino can help curb your alcohol intake so you don’t drink as much. The bubbles in seltzer can also loosen and rinse away any stain-causing wine clinging to the surface of your teeth.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening can remove discoloration from wine and other stain-causing food and drinks. While over-the-counter products can lighten these stains somewhat, professional teeth whitening can make your teeth several shades whiter.

Teeth whitening at your dentist typically starts with teeth cleaning to remove plaque. The main purpose of teeth cleaning is to prevent cavities and gum disease, but it also helps optimize the benefits of teeth whitening.

Professional teeth whitening treatments remove surface stains, also known as extrinsic stains. These surface stains can develop when pigmented particles, such as stain-causing residue from red wine or other food and drinks, build up in the film of protein that covers the surface of your teeth. Teeth whitening provided by your dentist may also remove stains deeper within the enamel, known as intrinsic stains. These stains develop when the stain-causing particles work their way through the exterior of your tooth to the enamel below.

A number of professional teeth whitening systems can remove red wine stains from your teeth. These systems rely on the power of peroxide or bleach to lift stains from tooth enamel, safely and effectively. Whitening occurs as oxygen molecules from the whitening agent react with the discolored molecules in your teeth. Triangle Dentistry uses the Opalescence teeth whitening system as well as custom bleach trays and take-home whitening gels to uncover your best smile.

For more tips for preventing the tooth stains from red wine or your other favorite foods and beverages, contact Triangle Dentistry.


Triangle Dentistry, located in Raleigh, NC, provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of a patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 847-6000