Lunchtime Beauty Q&A: How Soon Do You Brush Teeth After Drinking Red Wine?

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Woman Brushing Her Teethe --- Image by © Brooke Fasani Auchincloss/Corbis Photo: Brooke Fasani Auchincloss

Q:  Should I brush immediately after drinking coffee, tea, or red wine to prevent a stain from setting in?

A: As counterintuitive at it seems, it’s better not to brush right after eating or drinking something staining or acidic — and not just the obvious culprits like coffee and red wine. Anything acidic can encourage erosion and staining, including white wine; fruits and juices like pineapple, tomato, or citrus; and soda or sports drinks.

“If you drink lemonade and then eat some berries, your teeth will soak up the berry stain easier,” says NYC dentist Nancy Rosen. “Wait at least 30 minutes to brush, otherwise you will be abrading the enamel and actually rubbing that acid and pigment into your teeth.” Instead of brushing right away, have a water chaser with your red wine. “Rinsing your mouth or drinking water dilutes acid and pigment. Or chew sugar-free gum, which stimulates saliva and neutralizes acid in the mouth.”