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How to protect your teeth when you enjoy tasting wine

Many wine lovers are concerned about the impact of wine on their teeth' health. Learn simple strategies to protect your teeth when tasting wine.

Published October 20, 2021.

Wine acidity and phenolic compounds aren't your teeth' health best friends. The former triggers teeth erosion, and the latter leaves you with yellow to red teeth staining, a concern to many wine lovers.

You'll find below strategies to manage your teeth health while still enjoying tasting wine.

===> But let's address two questions first.

Is wine teeth staining a risk for frequent wine tasters?

A study published in June 2021 assessed whether frequent wine tasting affects tooth color [1]. Researchers compared two groups: 

  • a group of 31 professional wine tasters,
  • a group of 30 non-wine tasters.

They used an instrumental technique to measure the participant teeth coloring. For the techies among you, the scientists analyzed the buccal surfaces of the maxillary central incisors with a spectrophotometer.

Their results showed that being a wine taster didn't affect the teeth' color. The only factor impacting teeth color was age. The older the taster, the more teeth staining.

The low number of participants is a limitation of this study. So it deserves to be replicated.

How can you deal with wine acidity?

Acids in wine and other beverages can dissolve calcium and phosphate from the tooth enamel, leading to tooth demineralization and erosion, according to a technical report published in Australia [2]. This report also indicates that frequent wine tasters who assess more than 50 wines in a week have higher risks of increased teeth sensitivity.

An international wine judge told me once that he wouldn't brush his teeth before going into a wine judging session. Plus, he wouldn't brush his teeth at night if he was due to judge the next day again. Hmm…

This approach is one way to protect your teeth' health, but there are other ways.

Strategies to protect your teeth.

Before the tasting,

Do not brush your teeth for these two reasons.

  1.  The toothpaste aroma will linger in your mouth for a long time. It will interfere with your ability to detect specific tastes and scents.
  2. The teeth plaque acts as enamel protection against wine acids and flavonoids; brushing your teeth will remove most of it.

Avoid drinking coffee or other acidic beverages before starting your wine tasting. 
Why add more acid to your mouth?

During the tasting,

Rinse your palate thoroughly with still water between each wine sample.
Sparkling water is acidic. The water will dilute the acid and flush any wine residues that may damage your teeth.
Note that rinsing during wine tasting isn't about sipping water. It's the same process of rinsing that you perform after brushing your teeth.

Eat bread or crackers
to help salivate and flush any remnant of wine.

Don't taste more than ten wines in one tasting session.

It will avoid sensory adaptation and fatigue.
And do not taste more than 50 wines in a week, based on the AWRI report.

After the tasting,

Don't brush your teeth immediately after the tasting.

According to the AWRI report, teeth are in a demineralization state; they are softer. Brushing them may accentuate the effect. Wait at least two hours.

Using toothpaste for sensitive teeth helps during that time too. I use this type of toothpaste all the time.

In summary,

You can protect your teeth and continue to enjoy tasting wine.

As a wine enthusiast, there are a few steps you can take during the tasting.

  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly and eat food that isn't too flavorful.
  • Avoid brushing your teeth just before going tasting and not immediately after tasting wine. 

If you're still concerned about wine staining and teeth erosion, please talk to your dentist, who will offer appropriate treatments.


[1] François Deleplanque, Noella Rajonson, Elise Cazaubon, Sébastien Marque & Johan Samot (2021) Influence of wine tasting on the color of teeth amongst professional wine tasters of Gironde, France: a pilot study, Journal of Wine Research, 32:2, 67-76, DOI: 10.1080/09571264.2021.1940901

[2] The Australian Wine Research Institute (2017) Dental health for wine tasters.

Categories: Best practices, Tasting education

Isabelle Lesschaeve

Principal, Blog author, and Wine Tasting Coach

Internationally renowned wine sensory scientist, Isabelle demystifies wine tasting and helps serious wine lovers sharpen their tasting skills and tasting notes in a supportive community.

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