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News / May 22, 2009

White wine contributes to tooth staining

by Guy Hiscott

A recent study by New York University dental researchers found that drinking white wine can increase the potential for teeth to take on dark stains.

The researchers compared two sets of six cow teeth, whose surface closely resembles that of human teeth, and used a spectrophotometer to evaluate staining levels.

They found that teeth soaked for one hour in white wine before being immersed in black tea had significantly darker stains than teeth immersed for one hour in water before exposure to
the tea.

‘Dipping teeth in white wine for one hour is similar to the effect of sipping the wine with dinner,’ said Dr Mark Wolff, professor and chairman of the Department of Cariology & Comprehensive Care at New York University College of Dentistry, who oversaw the study, which was led by Ms Cristina Dobrescu, a third-year student at New York University College of Dentistry.

Dr Wolff went on to explain: ‘The acids in wine create rough spots and grooves that enable chemicals in other beverages that cause staining, such as coffee and tea, to penetrate deeper into the tooth.’

Nonetheless, red wine remains the worse culprit when it comes to staining teeth. When the researchers repeated the experiment with red wine, the resulting stains were significantly darker than those in the white wine group.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in Miami.