Due to its acidity, wine has the ability to dissolve teeth on the surface, compromising their smoothness and making them more susceptible to pigment. The intensity of red wine’s color, in particular, explains why the faint purple side effect is more common than stains from white wine.

Although this etching is only temporary in most cases, here are four ways to avoid wine stained teeth when the bottles start flowing.

wine stained teeth

Photo by Emma Delaney

1. Brush BEFORE, Not AFTER

Once the enamel of your teeth is compromised from the acid, further erosion can occur from vigorous brushing. By brushing beforehand, you can clean the surface of your teeth where the plaque tends to form and prevent staining. If you must brush after, be sure to wait a bit, and rinse first to give your teeth the chance to restore their coating.

2. Drink Sparkling Water

The carbonation in sparkling water makes it a perfect alternative mouthwash. The bubbles help loosen up and scrub away stains, so during commercial breaks of your favorite “rom com” or between courses of a meal, make it to the bathroom and gargle away! For more helpful beverage alternatives click here.

3. Eat Cheese

This dynamic duo exists for a reason. Not only do wine and cheese taste great together, but protein also prevents your worst wine stains. The calcium in cheese specifically helps fill the pores on your teeth’s surface that can result from acidic erosion. We all have our favorites, but hard cheeses tend to have the most calcium and are healthiest for you in general. Take a crash course on all things cheese by clicking here.

4. Get Some Fiber

Foods that are high in fiber such as spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts and potatoes cause your mouth to produce more saliva. Sure it sounds gross, but increased saliva helps scrub away at those stains with each bite, so pick this caprese-inspired spinach salad appetizer over a less nutritious iceberg wedge.

WARNING: Beware of Teeth Whitening

Studies have shown that regularly whitening your teeth can make your pearly whites more susceptible to staining. Teeth whitening can strip enamel off your teeth and can create the same porous surface for stains to stick onto. This can be cumulative with each use, so brush more and whiten less!