What are the WORST drinks for your teeth?
Well to be honest, the 'worst drink' for you will depend on what your oral health goals are and what you're trying to avoid. Since every person is different, the 'worst drink' will vary from person to person.
But, the questions to ask may overlap:
Are you most concerned about staining?
Are you most concerned about sugar levels?
Are you most concerned about acidity harming your teeth?
These are all valid questions, so let's take a look at different drinks and you can choose the best one for you (orrrr drink the 'bad' ones with a straw!)
It stains your teeth, it makes your breath stink and it dries out your mouth - which leave your teeth more susceptible to cavities.
Will this make us stop drinking coffee? That's going to be a resounding 'NO'!
But, we will make sure to brush with toothpaste after consuming, leaving us with minty fresh breath (wait about 20 minutes after consuming, so you don't soften your enamel, then damage it by brushing!)
We will also make sure to do routine dental whitening treatments. Dental whitening is not the same as dental cleanings, so be sure to ask for the former if you want to maintain those pearly whites!
Finally, we'll be sure to sip plain water throughout the day, so we can counteract the dehydrating effects of coffee.
Most of the tips to enjoying tea are the same for coffee - but may be considered slightly better because it doesn't make your breath smell!
You may be surprised to know that the diuretic effects of alcohol can lead to dry mouth. With less saliva to 'wash away' food particles and debris, you may be more susceptible to caries on teeth. Remember to hydrate adequately.
Certain drinks are also high in sugar, so maintain excellent oral hygiene at home and come in for routine professional cleanings.
Red wine can also stain your teeth, so enjoy in moderation.
And for goodness sakes - never - and we mean NEVER open a bottle of beer with your teeth. Your teeth can crack this way and it'll be costly to fix - so just don't do it!
The combination of high sugar content and acidity (in some fruit drinks) can be harmful to your enamel. Especially if it's all you drink. See if you can limit sweet drinks, drink through a reusable straw and make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water if you're drinking fruit drinks.
These may be worse than fruit drinks in terms of acidity, so limit them if you can. Otherwise, you're following the same rules of rinsing with water after consumption and/or enjoying them through a straw.
You're likely well aware that sugary, carbonated drinks like cola and company are terrible for your teeth - not unlike fruit drinks and sports drinks. But you should also be weary of hydrating using carbonated waters. Sparkling waters may seem more special and fun compared to flat waters, but they are more acidic than 'regular' water, so make sure it's not the only thing you drink.
What should you drink instead?
Well, you can still enjoy the above beverages - but, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, make sure you're otherwise practicing excellent oral hygiene at home, following up on routine dental visits, and booking teeth whitening treatments if its of concern.
You can integrate the use of a reusable straw so that all liquids bypass your teeth (just make sure you're not swishing the liquids around while they're in your mouth!)
Lastly, at the very least, rinse your mouth with water each time you enjoy one of these beverages - especially if it's high sugar and/or high acid. If the drink makes your breath smell bad - brush with toothpaste and maybe use a mouthwash 20-ish minutes after consuming.