You’ve gotten through the workweek, and the night you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. Endorphins are flowing, nerves are skyrocketing, and whether you’re most looking forward to a big first date, a dreaded high school reunion or (let’s be real) an intimate evening with Netflix, we all need a little something to take the edge off: All hail red, red wine.
Maybe it’s a thirst-quenching glass of Cab, Merlot or Pinot Noir that tickles your fancy, but these three amigos share one thing in common: They’ll undoubtedly mark their territory all over your precious pearly whites.
Without getting into too much fancy Sommelier lingo, wine-stained syndrome is a common occurrence while experiencing the occasional glass (or bottle) of red. It occurs because of these things called chromogens found in reds, which are little pain-in-the-ass substances that bind to dental enamel… but it’s the price we pay for the vino.
So what’s a self-proclaimed red wine devotee to do in such a crisis? We’ve got the answer. The single surefire way to avoid looking like you’ve gone full Edward Cullen and just feasted on the blood of an innocent human is to simply avoid drinking red wine altogether…just kidding.
A world without red wine isn’t one worth living in, so here are a few tactics to help you keep that smile shining:
Brush Your Teeth – Before You Drink
Brushing your teeth may seem like the obvious solution to any oral dilemma, however, it is one of the most easily forgetful, underestimated hygienic tasks and contains a wide variety of benefits, but most importantly it acts as a shield to those pesky chromogens. As previously preached, the chromogens in wine cling to the plaque in your teeth, so scrubbing off the excess residue prior to boozing will decrease your chances of stained teeth, and likely increase your chances of a second date.
Drink Sparkling Water
So you may come off slightly bougie for ordering an overpriced glass of water with bubbles along with your wine, but remember: It’s the price you pay. While swishing sparkling water around in your mouth in the middle of dinner may make you look like a fool, it will also decrease the staining process, thanks to that good ol’ bubbly.
Eat Cheese… Lots of It
Well twist an arm, and force it down if you must! Not only are wine and cheese proven lifelong soul mates for obvious reasons, but there is also grated (pun intended) scientific evidence behind this tactic. Munching on a delicious slice of heaven causes calcium to build on your teeth (kinda gross, we know) while acting as a filler to the micro-pores on the forefront of your fangs. In simpler terms, cheese is always a good idea.
Bonus: Same goes with greens. Eating fiber-based veggies such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli or any other boring appetizer helps produce more saliva while fighting off unwanted stains as you chow down.
Don’t Mix Wines (Duh)
Drinking red wine is a solid commitment. But starting with white and switching to red will result in epic failure. This causes the acidity of white wine to erode the enamel on your teeth and then allows the red wine substances to hold on for dear life. If you want to avoid giving those red stains an advantage, we’d say just skip the white.
Suck on a Lime
Just because we really care, we’ve included one tactic to rid yourself of wine-stained syndrome in case you’re well past a wine-stained ‘preventative’. Studies suggest that discreetly gliding a lime over the top of your teeth post-red-wine binge will cause the acidity of the lime to wear down the stained enamel in a short period of time (although we do suggest waiting until after dinner). Although this may not rid 100% of the damage done, consider this your last minute ‘potential-for-a-kiss-at-the-end-of-the-night’ gimmick. Oh, and you’re welcome.