The Best and Worst Alcoholic Drinks For Your Teeth

By May 5, 2015Blog

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Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today and tonight are all about celebrations, gathering with friends and, of course, drinking! Before we send you on your way to the local bar or Mexican Restaurant, the dentists at SoCal Dental Care have put together a quick run through of the best and worst alcoholic beverages in terms of the damage they can cause your teeth!

The truth is, any type of alcohol is damaging to our teeth especially when consumed on a regular basis.  Since most of us drink at least socially, everyone should be aware of which alcoholic drinks specifically will cause more tooth erosion than others.

 A specialist in tooth erosion, Profesor Andrew Eder, has conducted a series of tests that reveals which drinks are the worst.

The lower the pH of a beverage, the more damaging to teeth.  A low pH means higher acidity and acid erodes tooth enamel over time.  Sugary alcoholic drinks should also be avoided, as sugar causes tooth decay.

Worst drinks

1. Malibu and Coke: Eder discovered that the all-time top offender was this rum concoction, with a pH of 2.5. It tends to be popular among women, yet if you care about your teeth, you might want to reconsider.

2. Cider and all types of wine have a pH of approximately 3. Although these drinks derive from fruits, don’t let them fool you. Sweeter wines, such as a hock, sherry and moscato, contain more sugars, damaging teeth more quickly than a sauvignon blanc or white Bordeaux. Dry wines typically are not sweet, consisting of less sugars after the fermentation process.

3. Fruit juices: Like cider and some wines, the high amounts of sugar in fruit juices are no good for teeth. Avoid cavities by limiting these drinks as mixers or chasers. You may think they’d be healthier, but their pH levels actually come in between 3 and 4.

4. Pimm’s and lemonade has a pH level of 3.5. Not only are these drinks sweet, but the sugars can cause erosion and cavities.

Better drink alternatives

1. Ale is your best bet. It’s clear, leaves no tooth stains and doesn’t have as much fizz as lager.

2. Beer, Champagne and cava are superior options, since they have a pH of about 4. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely a step up.

Let’s face it; nobody is going to cut alcohol out of their lives over this.  In fact, red wine is healthy and contains an anti-oxidant called resveratrol that experts say slows down the aging process.

To neutralize the pH, Dr. Shamoeil of SoCal Dental Care suggests using fluoride mouthwash and alternate alcohol with still water and sugar-free gum which stimulates saliva and protects teeth.  And in general, choose alcoholic drinks with a more neutral acidity whenever possible.

Did you know?  Brushing your teeth immediately after drinking an acidic beverage like coffee or alcohol can be harmful on your teeth, as that is when they are the softest and sensitive. In fact, vigorous tooth brushing is never good and can cause abrasion — one of the causes of tooth wear.