Is white wine better for my teeth than red wine?

Jul 6, 2011

Q: Is white wine better for my teeth than red wine?—Elizabeth

A: To avoid a purple or red stain on your teeth, some recommend drinking white wine instead of red, however, this does not mean that white wine is necessarily healthier, or better for your teeth.

Though white wines contain far less pigment than reds, both beverages contain acid, which is the element that is most damaging to your teeth. Over time, highly acidic foods and beverages can erode tooth enamel, which can lead to complications including sensitivity, pain and a higher likelihood of tooth decay.

Even though you might not see any stains after drinking a glass of white wine, it can still stain teeth just as badly as red wine, provided it's consumed along with foods and beverages containing a great deal of pigment. According to a study done by the New York University College of Dentistry, in which cow teeth (which are very similar to human teeth) were soaked in black tea alone, and also in white wine followed by black tea, the teeth soaked first in the wine picked up a great deal of brownish-red pigment, while the teeth soaked only in black tea were unstained. The findings were that the wine, having helped to erode some of the enamel, left the teeth exposed to the staining pigments in the tea.

To avoid long-term tooth stains and tooth decay, dentists recommend brushing about an hour after drinking a glass of wine. This allows the saliva to neutralize the layer of acid left on teeth and thereby prevents damage that can happen while brushing a highly acidic mouth.

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