Top 5 Best and Worst Drinks for Your Teeth

If you often find stains on your teeth, yellowing on your teeth, or even start to notice a cavity appearing, you may be wondering why and how this keeps happening. 

Sometimes the beverages you drink can be to blame! But what drinks are bad for your teeth? And what can be done to stop discoloration and cavities from occurring?

Here’s everything you need to know about the effects of beverages on your oral health. 


So what drinks are bad for your teeth?

The first step in getting a brighter smile is making sure you have a strong oral hygiene routine in place, especially if you’re in braces, Brius®, or Invisalign® treatment (as sticky beverages have more surface area to cling to). 

Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day for 2 minutes, flossing once a day, and following it up with one of the best mouthwashes for ortho smiles is the best at home prevention! Once that’s in place, it’s time to evaluate your beverage choices. 

Here’s the top 5 worst drinks for your teeth.

1. Soda

Soda is probably one of the worst drinks for your teeth – both regular and diet types! Regular sodas such as lemon-lime or cola are high in sugar and acidic additives that create the perfect environment for tooth decay-causing bacteria to flourish. Diet soda has the same effect on your teeth due to the highly-acidic additives used in place of sugar to make a sweet tasting beverage. 

2. Wine

This one is for our adult ortho patients! It may be common knowledge that red wine causes tooth stains but did you know that white wine can be just as harmful to your teeth? 

Yes! We’re talking red, white, and bubbly; all types of wine are acidic. In fact, wine falls between a 2.9 to a 4.2 on the pH scale. With the average glass of red or white being a 3.5 in acidity. To give you an idea of how acidic that is, the scale is 0-14 with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being alkaline (basic). 

This highly acidic drink begins to mix with your saliva and within 30 minutes, the pH level in your mouth lowers, causing acid erosion on your teeth (we’ll talk about what exactly this is a little later!)

3. Black tea or coffee

With 62% of Americans drinking coffee every day, we’re all too familiar with the stains or discoloration coffee can cause on our teeth. But did you know that black tea has the same staining capabilities? That’s because black coffee and black tea fall within the same range on the pH scale, making them an acidic beverage, aka a catalyst for acid erosion on your teeth. 

While we’re not saying you should stop drinking coffee or tea, knowing where your beverages fall on the pH scale can give you crucial insight on protecting your teeth and keeping pesky stains from blemishing the brilliance of your smile. 

Limiting the amount of coffee or tea you drink daily is a great start! Other ways you can reduce staining and acid attacks from these beverages is by drinking water with your tea or coffee if you’re a casual sipper or adding milk to reduce the acidity. 

4. Fruit juices

Fruit juices with added sugars can spell disaster for your teeth! When sugar begins to mix with your saliva, it creates a type of bacteria that leaves a sticky surface on your teeth, trapping food particles and other bacteria.

Try to stick with 100% fruit juice as recent studies have found no evidence to suggest that these fruit juices are behind cavities (when drinking no more than the recommended 5 oz of juice per day and practicing normal oral hygiene). 

5. Energy drinks

For you energy drink lovers out there, we’ve got some tough news for you! It’s true that energy drinks present a number of risks to your dental health (and possibly your overall health), just like sodas. Most energy drinks have high sugar content (unless they’re sugar-free of course) and are very acidic in nature.

The pH of energy drinks ranges from 1.5 to 3.3, which is exceptionally acidic. That level of acidity can break down your enamel, causing tooth sensitivity and eventually cavities. And just like soda, sugar-free energy drinks still have that high level of acidity, meaning you’re still taking the same risks with your smile.


How to stop acid erosion on teeth

The best way to stop dental (acid) erosion and protect your healthy smile is by avoiding or limiting beverages with high acid levels or sugar content. Acids left on your teeth start to dissolve and erode your precious enamel (the protective, outer layer of your teeth). Being aware of how much sugar is in a drink and where it falls on the pH scale can help you spot potential “bad” drinks for your teeth. 

If you want to treat yourself to one of these drinks every now and then, you can rinse your mouth with water after. This helps to wash away the acids from your teeth, and prevent a longer acid attack.

What drinks to drink to keep your teeth healthy!

So now that we know which drinks to avoid, what are some drinks that can benefit your oral health? We’re so glad you asked! 

Just keep in mind that drinking these beverages does not replace any portion of a strong oral hygiene routine, but can help supplement it!

1. Milk

If you’ve been wondering “is milk good for teeth and gums”? The answer is yes! Milk contains vitamins and calcium that can help strengthen your enamel – reducing tooth sensitivity and cavities.

2. Water

Water not only nourishes your thirst, but is also great at rinsing your mouth of food particles and reducing the effect of acidic drinks. Tap water or municipal water contains fluoride which can remineralize your enamel. Another great water option is mineral water which contains important minerals that are beneficial for your oral health. 

3. Green tea

Green tea has many amazing benefits for your oral health!

  • Antioxidants which help combat tooth-destroying bacteria
  • Nutrients that combat gum disease
  • Helps fight bad breath
  • Helps reduce your risk for oral cancer


Still have questions about drinks that can damage your teeth?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions! Dr. Matsumoto and our experienced team are here to empower you throughout your treatment.

Ready to start your smile transformation? Request your complimentary exam with Matsumoto Orthodontics & Periodontics at our orthodontist office in Wilmington, NC, at Porters Neck.

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