Could white wine help your tooth? Well, its time you rework the tooth-whitening mantra, for a study has found that the transparent beverage increases the risk of dark dental stains.
In the study, NYU dental researchers compared two sets of six cow teeth, whose surface closely resembles that of human teeth, and used a spectrophotometer, an instrument that measures color intensities, 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 and Comprehensive Care at New York University College of Dentistry, who oversaw the study, which was led by Ms. Cristina M. Dobrescu, a third-year student at New York University College of Dentistry.
The study will be presented at the annual meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in Miami.
"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," Dr. Wolff explained.
However, when the researchers repeated the experiment with red wine, the resulting stains were significantly darker than those in the white wine group.
"Red wine, unlike white, contains a highly-pigmented substance known as chromogen," explained Dr. Wolff.
But he added that connoisseurs concerned about staining need not cut back on their consumption.
"The best way to prevent staining caused by wine, as well as other beverages, is to use a toothpaste containing a whitening agent," advised Dr. Wolff.