Is Wine Bad for Your Teeth?

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Many people enjoy having a glass of wine with their dinner. When consumed in moderation, red wine even possesses certain health benefits. Wine is made from crushed grapes, which contain powerful antioxidants.

These antioxidants are able to protect the lining of the blood vessels in the heart, as well as lower cholesterol and prevent blood clots. Of course, the key here is that wine must be drank in moderation. Drinking too much alcohol can cause a plethora of health problems, including heart failure, liver and pancreas disease, and stroke.

But how does wine affect your oral health? Red wine is known to cause staining on teeth, but many wonder if it does deeper damage. Is wine bad for your teeth?

The Effects of Wine on Teeth

Erode Tooth Enamel

Both red and white wine are acidic. Unfortunately, that acid is damaging to tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the outer covering of the tooth. It is quite thin and translucent.

While enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it will wear away from exposure to acidic food and drinks. Once enamel has been destroyed, it cannot be regrown.

The most common symptom of damaged enamel is tooth sensitivity, or pain. This is particularly noticeable when eating or drinking hot or cold food and drinks. This happens because as the enamel erodes, the tooth dentin becomes exposed.

Another symptom is tooth discoloration. Teeth with damaged enamel appear grayish or yellow in color and may look transparent around the edges.

Stain Teeth

Red wine can also stain teeth. Most red wines contain red pigments – anthocyanins and tannins, that stick to the teeth. Mixed with saliva, these pigments create a dye that coat the teeth, leaving them an unsightly red or purple color.

The pigments particularly like to stick to plaque and debris on the teeth. While a single glass of wine would result in a temporary stain, consuming wine more frequently could result in permanent staining.

Is Wine Bad for Your Teeth?

While wine does have some health benefits, it can also be detrimental to teeth. Wine stained teeth look unsightly and damaged enamel cause teeth sensitivity and an increased risk of tooth decay.

So in general, yes, wine is bad for your teeth. However, drinking in moderation can definitely help to lower the chances of oral health problems due to wine.

Tips for Protecting Teeth from Wine

  1. Brush and floss before drinking. This will help to prevent wine from sticking to plaque on your teeth.
  2. Sip water. As you are drinking wine, remember to take a sip of water periodically. This helps to clean your mouth and keep you hydrated.
  3. Eat high fiber foods. Eating fibrous foods such as fruits and vegetables naturally scrub wine stains away.
  4. Eat cheese. Consuming cheese helps to increase calcium in your teeth. In addition, hard cheeses can clean off fresh wine stains.
  5. Use teeth wipes. Teeth wipes are portable wipes used for scrubbing your teeth. They fit over your finger and are very convenient, as no water is needed.


While wine is considered to be a “heart healthy” drink, it is hard to ignore the damage it can cause to teeth. Wine stains on teeth look unsightly, but the real damage is done by the acid in the wine. Weakened enamel causes tooth sensitivity and increased cavities.

If you enjoy a glass of wine, you don’t need to completely stop. As with most things, it is important to sip in moderation and maintain your daily oral health habits.