By Cara Murez Healthday reporter
TUESDAY, Dec. 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Red may be the traditional color of the holiday, but no one wants to wear it on their teeth.
An expert offers some tips for keeping the “wine tooth” away during your holiday parties.
“When you drink red wine, you are facing a triple threat to the whitening of your teeth: anthocyanins, which are the pigments in grapes that give red wine its rich color; tannins, which help bind pigment to your teeth; And the acidity found in wine, which etch your enamel, makes it more porous and easier for stains to stick,” said Dr. Uchena Akosa. She is a dentist who heads Rutgers Health University Dental Associates in New Brunswick, NJ
“The strength of your enamel and how prone you are to plaque build-up are important factors in how much staining your teeth can tolerate,” Akosa said.
Brush before drinking red wine, she advised. And don’t brush immediately after drinking.
Plaque can make it look like your teeth are stained, so brushing 30 minutes before can help reduce this problem. And the toothpaste itself can cause more etching if you brush afterwards.
Another tip: don’t drink white wine before red wine, as the extra acid in white wine will make the stain worse.
After drinking alcohol, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. It lowers acidity and increases the flow of saliva, which fights off harmful bacteria and maintains the ideal pH in your mouth.
Chewing food also stimulates salivation. Pairing cheese with wine stimulates salivation while reducing the acidity from the wine.
“Of course, alcohol is not the only culprit,” Akosa said in a Rutgers news release. “Anything that can stain a shirt can stain your teeth, such as black coffee, black tea, berries, balsamic vinegar, chocolate, sweets and smoking. Drinks like soda and juice damage enamel and stain teeth.” make them more sensitive to
Akosa also recommends brushing teeth properly and getting regular dental cleanings to keep the enamel strong. Flossing helps remove the soft layer of bacteria on teeth called plaque, which can lead to cavities.
A soft toothbrush is the right choice, unless you have gum problems, she said. In that case, choose an extra-soft toothbrush.
Instead of straight on, brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and move the brush slowly back and forth in short strokes. Brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces.
Before going to bed, use a water flosser or dental floss to remove particles.
All toothpastes contain five basic ingredients – fluoride, glycerin, sorbitol, calcium carbonate and sodium lauryl sulfate. But not all whitening toothpastes are good for your teeth, Akosa said.
Look for natural ingredients like organic coconut oil, activated charcoal or lemon oil for whitening instead of using charcoal or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) for long periods of time.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on oral care.
Source: Rutgers University, news release, December 15, 2022
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