Any member of the opposite sex will tell you that black teeth aren’t sexy.
For serious wine lovers, this poses a mating dilemma. A long day of tasting tannic, full-bodied red wines—whether in California, Bordeaux or at an organized event—will leave your teeth coated with an unappealing, dark grey film. Even worse, the acid component in wine can erode tooth enamel over an extended period of time.
One solution is Wine Wipes, a new product that claims to safely restore your teeth to their pre-tasting state. They are packaged in bunches of 20 for $6.95, and come in a small container that resembles a makeup compact, complete with mirror. They’re coated with baking soda (which neutralizes acids), salt (a natural stain remover and germ fighter), hydrogen peroxide (to help kill germs), and calcium and glycerin, which stick to the tooth surface and prevent future stains.
Are they safe to use? I had some reservations about this, but was reassured by the endorsement of Dr. Emanuel Layliev of the New York Center for Cosmetic Dentistry. He sees Wine Wipes as part of a “new trend toward natural products, which are actually medically better for our mouths.” He rates Wine Wipes in the same category as products such as biodegradable floss and natural toothpaste. For the same price, the company also makes Pearly Whites, designed to refresh your smile after morning tea or coffee.
Do they work? Yes, if all you want to do is remove the stains caused by red wine. They are not teeth whiteners and are not promoted as such; in fact, they’re probably much better for you, since they don’t contain bleach that causes tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. For a committed red wine drinker, they’re far better than fizzling out on a date or switching to Chardonnay.
Mark Spivak is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, published by Lyons Press (Globe Pequot); for more information, go to www.iconicspirits.net.