Picture the scene—you, a little black dress, a fabulous soiree, and a glorious glass of Pinot Noir. Then, the awkward moment: you burst into smile and your pearly whites have turned an unsightly shade of purple (quickly followed by your face in embarrassment). A mortifying moment to be sure, and you’re not alone.
“Everyone’s teeth are prone to both temporary and permanent staining when drinking red wine, though the amount of staining varies from person to person,” says Jenny La Fever, founder of Wine Straws. “Someone who whitens their teeth often has the most porous enamel, and someone with veneers has the least porous teeth.”
So how can you enjoy red wine and keep your smile stain-free? We’ve got a few ideas:
Give your enamel some TLC. Though it would seemingly make sense to brush with whitening toothpaste, La Fever says it’s better to buy a more enamel-friendly product. “A whitening toothpaste isn’t always the best long-term solution for your smile,” says La Fever. “A toothpaste that helps restore, protect, and strengthen enamel is a smarter choice.”
Combat stains strategically. What you eat and drink alongside red wine makes a big difference. For instance, high-fiber foods and hard cheeses have instant stain-fighting powers, while swirling a glass of sparkling water between wines can also give a much-needed rinse.
Come prepared. Packing some backup in your purse can be the ultimate smile salvation. Some experts recommend carrying a whitening pen to apply at the end of the evening, and products like Wine Straws and Wine Wipes can also help you avoid the dreaded red smile.