With the holiday season upon us, the weeks ahead will be spent enjoying the festivities with our loved ones and colleagues. During this festive season, wine, prosecco and colorful cocktails are usually the choices for most, some drinks are better than others when it comes to your oral health.
We’ve put together a guide on the best and worst drinks for your teeth this holiday season, along with some top tips on maintaining good oral health throughout the festivities.
Best Cocktails for Your Oral Health
One of the best drinks to order is light beer. Light over dark will not only help to reduce staining, but the lighter option has a higher water content and therefore less acid!
Gin is a popular choice for cocktails and is often consumed with tonic water or soda. It has a moderate acid content, making it less likely to damage the tooth enamel. Plus, adding ice to the drink will further reduce its acidity.
Vodka is another popular choice. It has a higher pH, which makes it within range of potential damage to your teeth and its drying effect reduces the amount of saliva in your mouth – leading to bad breath. A vodka and soda is the best option.
Worst Cocktails for Your Oral Health
Rum & Coke
Combining rum and Coke is a quick go-to because it is easy to make, but it’s loaded with sugar and has a pH level that’s headed straight for tooth decay. And remember, soda is one of the top offenders when it comes to dental staining.
Vodka & Red Bull
Energy drinks are one of the worst offenders when it comes to cavity rates in adults. Even though vodka is clear, the energy drink portion of your beverage can also cause stain buildup. But your real concern here is enamel demineralization.
Vodka & Fruit Juices
When mixing fruit juices with vodka or other types of alcohol, you get similar outcomes as the rum and coke scenario listed above. Fruit juice is not one of the best drinks for teeth, because it’s loaded with natural sugars. Cranberry juice is known to have an even higher sugar content than a lot of popular sodas. Plus, cranberry juice is acidic, complicating the overall effect on your mouth. If you’re making the drink at home, you always have the option of swapping the juice out for a diet version to reduce some of the sugar content (it just won’t help with staining.)
The acidic tomato juice in a Bloody Mary makes you more prone to enamel erosion, tooth decay, and issues like heartburn (if you’re prone to it already.) Adding lemon juice just complicates things even more. And in case you didn’t already know it, tomato juice, sauce, etc. can significantly raise your chances of tooth discoloration. Plus, there are plenty of other acidic ingredients depending on how it’s made, such as pickles, hot sauce, etc. It’s like an acid bath for your smile.
Wines in general tend to be acidic. Dark wines are especially prone to causing heavy enamel stains (similar to coffee, soda, and tea.) If you’re a red wine lover, make sure you’re frequently sipping and rinsing with water between glasses. Another hint is to pair wines with cheese to restore your month’s pH balance.
Anything with this much sugar carries the risk of causing cavities. The good news is that eggnog, by itself, is not highly acidic. By drinking plain eggnog, you are only risking cavities through the high sugar content, not through both sugar and acid. Adding alcohol to eggnog does lower the pH a little, so you should exercise caution when you mix in the rum. Drinking it in your coffee also carries a more acidic pH.
Protecting Your Smile
No matter what you drink, you can maintain your pearly whites by sipping, drinking, or rinsing with water in between beverages. This step will help prevent dry mouth as well and/or dehydration. It will also rinse away some of the sugar in your mouth. Make sure that you brush and floss before going to bed and get regular cleanings. Doing this will prevent plaque buildup, reduce staining and minimize any damage.
For more information visit Bayview Dental.