How to stop red wine teeth this festive season

There are some tips and tricks you can adopt to prevent red wine staining teeth. (Getty Images)
There are some tips and tricks you can adopt to prevent red wine staining teeth. (Getty Images)

Red wine season is upon us. Whether it's a bold Barolo in front of the fire, a piping hot mulled wine at a festive do or a 'medicinal' Merlot when you're in need of a pick-me-up, vin rouge is the ultimate alcoholic winter warmer.

But there’s definitely a downside to the seasonal quaffing of the red stuff, namely the unsightly purple tinged teeth that make an appearance after your third glass of Shiraz.

Thankfully, there are some ways to ensure your pearly whites remain just that.

First, however, it is important to understand why red wine is such a particularly problematic beverage of choice for your gnashers.

What causes red wine teeth?

"Red wine stains teeth as it contains a mix of tannin and acids which in turn attract proteins, sugars enzymes in the mouth and causes them to stick to the teeth," explains wine expert, Martin Hagen from Cave Bristol.

"This, with the natural dye in red grapes, creates the perfect storm for the dreaded red wine teeth. In some cases, unnatural colourings can also be added to wine which will increase the staining."

Read more: The wines to avoid if you don't want a headache, according to scientists (The Telegraph, 4-min read)

Eating hard cheese can help prevent red wine staining your teeth. (Getty Images)
Eating hard cheese can help prevent red wine staining your teeth. (Getty Images)

Turns out not all red wines are made equal when it comes to staining the teeth, with some coating your teeth considerably more than others.

"As a general rule, the lighter body and lower tannin reds will give less staining so this is one way to avoid staining," Hagen continues. "I recommend that you look at wines made with Gamay grapes, lighter-bodied Pinot Noirs, Cinsault, and Blaufrankisch to name but a few."

He also recommends trying to avoid cheap, heavy reds as they are more likely to contain unnatural additives that will worsen the stain situation.

"If you stick to lighter-bodied wines with no chemical additions this is your best bet to stay stain free," Hagen adds.

Red wine choice aside, however, there are some other tips and tricks you can adopt before, during and after the chugging that will ensure your teeth stay as stain-less as possible. This starts with having an understanding of who is most at risk of red wine mouth.

Watch: How to clean a red wine stain

Dr Sam Jethwa, president-elect of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD), and founder of Bespoke Smile, explains that while all teeth are prone to staining and discolouration, red wine can be particularly problematic for people who have recently undergone teeth whitening or have veneers.

"When your teeth come into contact with red wine the coloured pigment in the grapes is bound to your teeth by the tannins," he explains. "This is made worse by the acidity in the wine which makes the enamel more porous."

Making sure teeth are well brushed and flossed before you go out can help to reduce the discolouration from the wine.

"This is because stains have a tendency to cling to the plaque on your teeth," explains Dr Jethwa. "So eliminating the plaque is important."

While you're on a night out there are some simple measures you can adopt that may help to prevent purple staining too.

"Many people find that taking steps such as drinking through a straw reduces the amount of contact your teeth have with the wine and helps to reduce the staining," Dr Jethwa adds.

Read more: Woman who runs Britain’s first year-round Christmas cafe says she never gets tired of it (Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read)

Can you stop red wine staining your teeth on a night out? (Getty Images)
Can you stop red wine staining your teeth on a night out? (Getty Images)

Of course, throwing a mini toothbrush and paste in your handbag is the ideal way to get rid of the grape tinge. However, there are still some other things you can do to lessen the effects.

"If you’re out on a night out and don’t have access to a brush to be able to remove the wine from the teeth, then rinsing your mouth out with water after a sip of a staining drink can stop stains sticking," Dr Jethwa says.

"Sparkling water is believed to be especially good for this because the bubbles can help to loosen food debris, however, it is important that you don’t consume too much sparkling water as it can cause erosion if consumed in high volumes."

Read more: 10 most common mistakes to avoid for healthy teeth (Yahoo Life UK, 7-min read)

Eating food whilst you drink the red wine may also help.

"This is because eating food stimulates saliva production and saliva can help to reduce the effects of acid on the teeth," Dr Jethwa continues. "Of course it’s advisable to opt for low-sugar foods, hard cheese can be good for this."

Another way that you can help to reduce the staining on a night out is by chewing sugar-free gum.

"Again, this helps to promote saliva production to reduce the acid on the teeth and also remove plaque and debris that may be lodged."

So there you have it people, expert-backed top tips to tackle the tinge. Now go forth and quaff.