This holiday season, if you think you're doing your teeth a favor by sipping white wine instead of red, you may want to rethink your strategy. Skipping the red wine isn't enough to keep those pearly whites gleaming. White wine can turn teeth dingy, too, says a new study from New York University College of Dentistry.
While it is obvious to drinkers that red wine leaves unsightly stains on teeth, the damage caused by white wines is less known.
White wines do more damage to your teeth than red wines a German study shows. German scientists have found wines such as Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio wear away enamel more quickly than reds like Merlot and claret. Researchers say prolonged contact with white wine erodes the protective layer making teeth more sensitive to hot, cold and sweet food.
The culprit is acid. Acid erodes the enamel on teeth causing rough spots and grooves that leave them vulnerable to stains from colored food, tea and coffee. Visually, red wine stains are worse than white because it has a lot of an intensely colored pigment called a chromogen.
The studies do not account for the swishing of saliva which can clear some acids. But the longer your teeth are in contact with the beverage, the greater the opportunity for erosion. Also, diet and the frequency of sipping can alter the way white wine rots teeth. But researchers also believe calcium-rich foods could offset some of the damage.
If teeth have been softened by exposure to acids, the damage can be made worse by excessive brushing of the teeth too soon afterward.
The acidic erosion isn't just a problem with wines. An abundance of citrus drinks like orange and grapefruit juice, lemonade, most sports/energy drinks and sodas also contains acids and can cause tooth erosion.
People find these acidic drinks refreshing and they alleviate thirst and may remove some unpleasant coating from the mouth. And beverages that are refreshing tend to be cold, acidic and carbonated.
Recently, scientists at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry decided to test five popular U.S. drinks.