Wine Whine
March 12, 2008 3:37 PM   Subscribe

I love red wine. However, after a few sips. it coats the bottom portion of my front teeth with a thick, dark, blackish film... not too attractive. How can I prevent this from happening.

I've been noticing that the bottoms of my teeth are clearer than the top, so perhaps I am losing enamel or something. I'm guessing there isn't a short-term solution for that. However, I do hope that there is some solution to allow me to drink red wine in public without looking like a toothless woman.

Any ideas?
posted by necessitas to Food & Drink (25 answers total)
Try using a small juice straw.
posted by Brian B. at 3:48 PM on March 12, 2008

a straw?
posted by b33j at 3:48 PM on March 12, 2008

Take a sip of water immediately after each sip of wine.
posted by ill3 at 3:51 PM on March 12, 2008

posted by fire&wings at 3:57 PM on March 12, 2008

Maybe chew gum? Although that would screw up the taste unless you could find unflavored gum. Almost anything you do is likely to ruin the experience of drinking wine one way or another.
posted by hihowareyou at 3:57 PM on March 12, 2008

I know this isn't a productive comment, but I suspect the straw would greatly diminish the proper flavour of the wine.
posted by sunshinesky at 3:59 PM on March 12, 2008

For those suggesting a straw, I would think that would:
1) Ruin the ability to properly sniff and taste a fine red wine
2) Only work if you swallowed immediately without letting the wine touch your teeth (or your taste buds)
3) Look just as—if not more—ridiculous than stains on the teeth.
posted by hihowareyou at 4:01 PM on March 12, 2008 [2 favorites]

Carry a toothbrush or drink water, or, in the absence of the above, try to keep your mouth closed.

I realize we're all geeky eccentrics here, but wine through a straw? Seriously? Are you thirteen? Don't do this. It makes you look like an idiot, and it ruins the process of tasting wine--it's not Mountain Dew, you have to let it wash slowly over your palate.
posted by nasreddin at 4:02 PM on March 12, 2008 [2 favorites]

Try changing your toothpaste and toothbrush. Maybe the wine is sticking to some other "film" on your teeth.
posted by cathoo at 4:02 PM on March 12, 2008

I've seen models use the straw trick at fashion parties. It does diminish the taste, but if your smile counts it might be a tradeoff that's worth it.
posted by sweetkid at 4:08 PM on March 12, 2008

I am not a dentist, but maybe that wine is clinging to pre-existing plaque or other gunk?
Maybe a teeth-cleaning session with an oral hygenist is warranted?
Drink cocktails before even considering a straw, please.
posted by Dizzy at 4:12 PM on March 12, 2008

This happens to my wife, but not to me. She uses some kinds of tooth whiteners and bleaches and I do not. Could you be using some tooth product that would cause this?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:34 PM on March 12, 2008

I have no answer to your question - sorry. Don't use a straw though, please. I'm tempted to say that if you were European you wouldn't even ask the question. If you were European, a slight discolouration of your teeth when drinking red wine would go completely unoticed and un-commented-on. Enjoy your night out instead of worrying about such trivial things which can be corrected with a good brush of the teeth before you go to bed and when you get up.
posted by brighton at 4:46 PM on March 12, 2008

Don't brush your teeth with toothpaste right before you drink wine, especially if you want to be able to actually taste the wine. If you really want to brush, do it without toothpaste. A good friend of ours also used to swear by the old Vaseline-on-teeth beauty pageant trick, but I suspect that might affect the taste of the wine as well.

Really though, this is a pretty common problem and isn't that big a deal.
posted by NYCnosh at 4:46 PM on March 12, 2008

If your smile (and your makeup, which is the real reason models sip drinks through straws) is your chief source of income, then yes, a straw makes sense. But otherwise, that's like suggesting you drink the wine with your nose plugged, and it'll be about as pleasureable.

Same goes with the brushing teeth thing, and (to a lesser extent) the swishing water thing.

And it's not just Europeans who won't notice your discoloration -- it's Americans, too. Really. It's no big deal.
posted by incessant at 4:50 PM on March 12, 2008

I deal with this constantly in my profession and we all complain about it. We've also learned there's nothing we can do to fight it.

Carry a toothbrush and brush as soon as you're done drinking if you're going somewhere afterwards (I wind up tasting in the afternoons). Otherwise, just make sure the wine you drink is worth is stains.
posted by Kloryne at 4:51 PM on March 12, 2008

If you love red wine then for heaven's forgo the straw! Just let your teeth look black. It happens. In fact it happens to the mighty Oz Clarke, if you ever see him wine tasting his teeth go black pretty quickly. It's the tannins that do it.

Solutions? As suggested a couple of glasses of water for every glass of red will help greatly or even better a glass of white wine (you can rinse and spit if you don't want to mix 'em up).

Don't brush your teeth straight away either, not good for the enamel, rather get some sugar free gum and have a wee chew.

My Dad gets his Dracula teeth and lips bad when on the red wine and used to try and scare me with it as a kid. Just made me want to drink wine though...
posted by brautigan at 4:54 PM on March 12, 2008

Oh, or eat some cheese. It's really just red wine colored saliva you're up against so anything that removes it and replaces with "fresh" will help.
posted by brautigan at 5:01 PM on March 12, 2008

Chase it with white wine, and swish it a bit.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 6:37 PM on March 12, 2008

maybe carry those lil finger toothbrush thingys to brush with right after drinking?
posted by meeshell at 6:38 PM on March 12, 2008

Hey Necessitas, asking for theories on the internet is fine, but I think you should also find a way to look at your teeth close-up. Strong reading glasses work for me. You can try a magnifying glass. Some webcams work very well, focused for very short distance. I say all this because a close-up look at your teeth may instantly explain your situation, as it did mine. For the record, my own theory is the same as Dizzy's: pre-existing crud.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 11:13 PM on March 12, 2008

Actually, this happens to me, and this is one of the reasons I stopped drinking red wine in public. I only drink red wine at home, and every so often go off to the bathroom for a bit of swizzle and gargle. So learn to love white wine when out, and go the red in your own bed.
posted by b33j at 4:46 AM on March 13, 2008

wow, sorry mefi but there are a lot of strange and really bad pieces of advice here.

First, this happens to a lot of people, and experienced wine drinkers know this.
A straw in a glass of wine will make you look WAY more ridiculous than red teeth.
Chase with white wine? that would just be wierd and totally mix up your palette.

Try a cheese and cracker combo every here and there, should help.
posted by muscat at 10:57 AM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

yeah, lots of really weird answers here, especially all the ones indicating "straw."

in addition to the cheese and cracker, consider the quick sips of water or heading to the bathroom for a gargle.

also, if you have no other options, just before the rim of the glass hits your lip, press your bottom lip hard against the front of your bottom teeth. no one will notice because the glass will be in front of your mouth, but you might want to practice a few times at home to get used to the feeling of drinking it with your bottom lip a little puckered. you can even use the pressure of the glass against your lip to help you hold it tight against the teeth (try it, seriously). this will cause most of the wine to pass your front teeth instead of sitting there and coating them. just be sure to swallow the wine before swishing it around in your mouth too much.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:48 PM on March 14, 2008

There is evidence that the tannins in red wine cause staining, so you may want to drink lighter wines made from, pinot noir, gamay (beaujolais) or cabernet franc, that are less tannic. Incidentally, tannins are not all bad as they help to restrain the hardening of arteries. So it may be worth staining your teeth with a glass of Madiran on occasion.
posted by liam at 3:13 PM on March 14, 2008

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