Is White Wine better for teeth than Red Wine?

I went out to dinner with some friends last night and while ordering we got into the discussion of wine stained teeth. My wife, being of sound mind, decided that she was going to drink white wine with dinner to avoid light purple, stained chompers at the end of the evening. This got me thinking… Is white wine really better for your teeth than red wine?

White Wine, is it really better for your teeth?

White wines contain far less pigments than red wine. However, the problem comes from the acid, which both wines contain and is the element that is most damaging to teeth. The acid erodes the tooth enamel and leads to staining. Of course over time, loss of enamel can lead to host of other problems, including, sensitivity, tooth pain and tooth decay.

Cow’s teeth that were immersed in white wine and black tea (left), and in red wine and black tea, (right).

A study led by Mark Wolff at the New York University College of Dentistry, had cow teeth (which are very similar to human teeth) soaked in black tea alone, then soaked in white wine followed by black tea.  According to the study, the teeth soaked 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 helped to erode some of the enamel and left teeth exposed to the staining pigments in the tea.

So what can you do once those pearly whites are stained? Wolff suggests using a toothpaste with a mild whitening agent. But don’t brush too hard, and don’t brush immediately after that wine or juice (when tooth enamel has been weakened), or you could just make the problem worse.

Of course, if you are trying to avoid staining your teeth, you’ll probably want to pick a different beverage altogether.

 

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