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The Worst Alcoholic Drinks For Your Teeth

Alcohol’s Impact on Your Teeth

It’s common knowledge that certain sugary beverages (ahem, soda) cause tooth decay while others (coffee, tea, wine) stain teeth.

But wine isn’t the only form of alcohol that is bad for your pearly whites.

The truth is, any type of alcohol is damaging to our teeth especially when consumed on a regular basis. 

Since the majority of individuals drink at least socially, it is important for everyone to be aware of which alcoholic drinks specifically will cause more tooth erosion than others.

Let’s take a look!

Article Table of Contents:

  • The Science Behind Alcoholic Beverages
  • Better Alcoholic Options
  • Steps to Maintain a Healthy pH Level
  • Contact the Dental Experts

The Science Behind Alcoholic Beverages

When it comes to looking at alcoholic drinks versus, say, water for instance, what is it exactly about these drinks that negatively effects your teeth?

It isn’t necessarily the same components that make jokes funnier and balance harder.

Actually, it is the pH level.

Keep this in mind: 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.

So the next time you are at the bar with a couple of friends, keep these tips in mind!

  1. Don’t get a Malibu and Coke: This is an absolutely terrible drink in regards to your teeth. This drink has a pH level of 2.5 and is loaded with tons of sugar.
  2. Ciders and wine have an approximate pH of 3. Ciders are tasty and going to a winery with friends is always a great time, but make sure you consider what you’re drinking. Be wary of sweeter wines. They are semi-acidic but also have a high sugar content.
  3. Avoid sparkling beverages. These also have a lower pH level. For instance, most lagers are bubbly.
  4. Fruit juice and vodka. Vodka typically has a lower pH level around 4 and fruit juices that you mix with it is still loaded with sugar. However, it is a wiser mixer than soda or lemonade.
  5. Alcohol has a drying effect: Saliva is excellent when it comes to flushing out your mouth, eliminating bacteria, and keeping your pH levels balanced. Certain alcohols not only have a low pH, they also tend to dry your mouth and reduce your saliva.

So is the only option to take completely removing alcohol from your life?

Better Alcoholic Options

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.

So what should you drink?

The following options are dentist preferred:

  • Red wine
  • Ale
  • Prosecco
  • Champagne
  • Beers without too much sugar

We recommend having these drinks become your new go-to drinks, all with a pH around 4.

Essentially, the idea is to maintain a neutral pH of 7 in the mouth, or as close to it as possible. 

Fruit juice, sparkly drinks, and alcohol bring the pH down to 5.5.  While removing saliva, consistently drinking sweet and acidic alcoholic beverages will cause the outer enamel on your teeth to erode and dissolve.

This will leave to darker and more sensitive teeth.

Steps to Maintain a Healthy pH Level

To neutralize the pH, you should use fluoride mouthwash and alternate alcohol with still water and sugar-free gum which stimulates saliva and protects teeth.

In general, choose alcoholic drinks with a more neutral acidity whenever possible.

Interesting Fact: 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.

While drinking may be fun and a good social event, make sure to keep your teeth in mind!

Contact the Dental Experts

If you have questions about how alcohol impacts your teeth or the current health of your teeth, give the experts at Hylan Dental a call.

Even if you do not reside near Cleveland, Ohio, feel free to call at 216-251-8812 for information.

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