Dental staining is a common and aggravating problem for millions of consumers. Accordingly, the global market for teeth whitening products is expected to reach an excess of 7 billion dollars by the year 2024.  

Currently, the global market stands at a price of 3.15 million dollars, with the US market for at home whitening strips alone being valued at 899 million dollars.  

Beverages of concern for teeth staining include but are not limited to: wine and other alcohols, coffee, tea, colas, energy drinks, and darkly-pigmented juice beverages.  

However, in the consumer’s eye, red wine and coffee are of perhaps the highest concern, thanks in part to the large share of media attention devoted to these two beverages and their impacts on dental staining.  

Studies have shown that while both coffee and red wine are capable of staining teeth to a high degree, red wine generally causes more extensive staining than coffee.  

It’s also of note that red wine is not the only alcoholic beverage capable of causing dental staining- nor is it the only type of wine capable of causing staining. While white wine may seem at first to be a friendlier choice with regards to dental staining, it too can cause dental staining, albeit in a manner slightly different than red wine.  

 The unique composition of acid found in both red and white wine impacts the surface of the tooth in a manner that allows for deeply-pigmented beverages (including but not limited to coffee, tea, colas, and dark fruit juices) to cause deeper and more noticeable staining than that seen in beverages with lower acid content.

However, in comparing red and white wine, red wine is uniquely staining thanks to its acid and chromagen content. As the acid in wine works to erode the enamel, creating diveits, lesions, and other weak areas, the highly-pigmented chromagen sets into those crevices, causing deep and noticeable stains.

Unfortunately, a large number of studies have shown that bleaching strategies may work to make teeth even more susceptible to future staining. For this reason, many dentists specifically advise patients to avoid certain beverages, particularly after tooth whitening.  

 A number of studies have reported that the superficial changes in the enamel promoted by whitening products affect the porosity of the tooth and may lead to inalterable structural changes depending on the specific whitening agent.  

 These changes occur thanks to the oxidative and demineralizing processes that occur when the tooth is exposed to agents containing hydrogen peroxide.  

 Studies have also suggested that the grooves and surface irregularities caused by both the acid erosion of wine beverages and the subsequent bleaching process may make patients especially prone to future staining, as grooves will collect even higher amounts of chromagen and other deep pigments in food and beverages. 

 With specific regards to wine-related staining (wherein staining is either caused by the acid and pigment in the beverage itself, for red wine, or by the acid and consumption of another darkly-hued beverage for white wine), patient education is key. 

 While it’s nearly impossible to completely negate the effects of acid and darkly-pigmented beverages in the process of dental staining, certain consumptive habits appear to reduce the severity of staining and enamel dysfunction. These consumptive habits include the use of drinking straws and rinsing with water after the consumption of a darkly-pigmented beverage product.  

 Additionally, new methods and treatments for the reduction of dental stains should be considered with specific regard to future staining. Given that patients seeking whitening products and procedures are likely those at greatest risk for teeth staining, it is of vital importance that any procedure undergone with the intention of reducing stains does not leave the patient at risk for future and more significant staining. 

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  1. Statista. Teeth whitening market value worldwide in 2016 and 2021 (in million U.S. dollars) at: 
  1. Titley K, Torneck CD, Smith D. The effect of concentrated hydrogen peroxide solutions on the surface morphology of human tooth enamel. J Endod. 1988;14(2):69-74.         
  1. Topcu FT, Sahinkesen G, Yamanel K, Erdemir U, Oktay EA, Ersahan S. Influence of Different Drinks on the Colour Stability of Dental Resin Composites. European Journal of Dentistry. 2009;3(1):50-56. 


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