We’ve all had that moment: a couple of glasses of red into a night out, you consult the bathroom mirror. Everything’s fine until you open our mouth and see an extra from the Walking Dead grinning back at you. But why does red wine make your teeth go purple? And is staining indicative of poor-quality wine?
Well, contrary to what I used to believe, purple stains don’t imply crappy wine. Some red grapes, it seems, contain more teeth-staining pigments, acids and tannins (the three main culprits) than others. But it’s not only the wine that’s to blame. The acidity level in your saliva also has an effect. Much of the purple coating on your teeth after a red wine binge is actually stained saliva, which is why it’s relatively easy to wipe off.
But… don’t brush your teeth for at least an hour after drinking. Why? Because the acids in wine can effect your tooth enamel (white wines do this too, of course. But in a less visually obvious way). The acid dissolves your teeth at the microscopic level, making them porous and easier for pigment to stick to.
So What Can You Do About Red Wine Stains?
The advice is: give your pearly whites a rinse with some sparkling water. High-fibre foods act as a brush, scrubbing away the stains and mopping up dry saliva. Plus, wine sticks to plaque, so clean your teeth beforehand. Not too close to drinking, of course, or you’ll suddenly find all your wine has “menthol” notes.