Q. When I drink red wine, I often get the dreaded "red wine teeth," which is an embarrassing condition to have at a party when I intend on talking, smiling, or otherwise showing my newly wine-stained chompers. And is there any way to reduce this affliction without hampering my enjoyment of reds? —Will, Augusta, Ga.
A: First, you should talk to a dentist about what would be best for your long-term tooth care. If you are particularly prone to the purple-toothed grin, consider drinking white or bubbly instead of (or in addition to) reds. Sneaking into a bathroom to brush isn't always a good idea, because a mouth fresh with wine is often also full of acid, and if you brush too soon, you might risk damaging your teeth and possibly making your staining problems worse. Eating a snack and drinking water will help your mouth's natural acid balance to return. If you're really in a pinch to get rid of the stains, there are some products in the market that are like portable miniature tooth polishers, and they fit easily into your pocket. Look for words like "smile refresher" or "oral brush-ups."
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