We all love happy hour, the specials, the snacks, the drinks. Keep in mind that all alcoholic beverages pose a serious threat to your oral health. Alcohol causes dehydration and dry mouth. This reduces saliva flow which can cause serious problems over time such as tooth decay and gum disease. Sipping on sugary cocktails has the added danger of bathing your teeth in sugar for a long time.
Wine deserves special mention as we know it stains your teeth. There are other concerns as well. Being an alcohol, wine dries the mouth and can also make teeth sticky, promoting stain formation. In addition, both red and white wines are very acidic which we already know may be harmful to your teeth. Keep in mind that while red wine can stain your teeth, white wines are more acidic, so they might be even more dangerous to your enamel.
When it comes to coffee, its common knowledge how bad coffee stains your teeth, and coffee stains are among the worst for your teeth as they are very stubborn. In addition, just like with wine, coffee makes teeth sticky and also dries out your mouth. It gets even worse if you add sugar to sweeten your coffee as there are few things worse for your teeth than sugar. If that’s not enough, coffee is also acidic, which we know wears down enamel. Of course, we don’t expect you to stop drinking your favorite beverage, but to minimize the damage please drink plenty of water afterwards and try to avoid additives like sugar.
Fruit juices, even though not as bad as the drinks listed above, it’s good to know most fruit juices are highly acidic and have been linked to an increased risk of cavities. Of course, 100% fruit juices have some health benefits as well, so just be aware of their acidic nature and at least rinse your mouth with water after drinking them.
As always: Brushing after a meal/beverage is of course always a great option, remember to wait 20 minutes if you’ve consumed highly acidic foods/beverages that have weakened your enamel. If possible, always rinse your mouth with water after a meal and drink lots of water throughout the day as well. Also use a straw when drinking highly acidic beverages to minimize their contact with your teeth.