Like many people, I love a glass or two of dark, yummy red wines. But, have you ever looked in the mirror after a couple of glasses and your teeth have taken on an unflattering shade of purple. Mine have and I wondered if I should quickly brush my teeth to get rid of that purple stain. Or, should I just not smile for the next hour? Dental professionals recommend you to hold off with the brushing. Why? The acidity in wine weakens the enamel on your teeth, making them extra-sensitive to the scratchy strokes of a toothbrush. To protect your teeth, wipe the stains away with a damp piece of gauze and wait at least an hour before brushing so that your saliva has time to rebalance the pH in your mouth.

What if you don’t have a piece of gauze? You could try these tips in advance of drinking red wine.

Brush and rinse well before you drink your red wine as wine sticks to the plaque on your teeth. Eliminating some of the plaque will give the red wine less surface to turn purple. I’ve discovered using a mouthwash in addition to brushing works well, too.

Drink plenty of water between sips of wine. I’ve also learned to drink sparkling water, as this helps rinse away stains more quickly or more efficiently.

Snack on hard cheese as this helps increase saliva production. That, in turn, balances your mouth’s pH and adheres to enamel, protecting your teeth from some of the acid in wine and its corrosive effects.

Last but not least, remember to brush, use mouthwash, and floss and before going to bed.
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Also remember, the polyphenols in red wine actually block the ability of the bacteria that causes tooth-decay to stick to your teeth. So you could eat cheese, drink wine, sip water…and repeat. Sounds like a plan to me…enjoy!