When the sun is out, kicking back with some summer cocktails can be a real treat—but many of the alcoholic beverages you use to wind down could be doing damage to your teeth. Explore some of the best and worst summer drinks for your teeth, along with a few tips to keep in mind while you sip.
Alcoholic Drinks to Avoid this Summer to Protect Your Teeth
Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications
How Can Summer Cocktails Damage Your Mouth?
Have you ever felt a thick film on your teeth when drinking a sweet cocktail? Many popular cocktail mixers like soda, energy drinks, and fruit juices are high in sugar. Just like eating candy or sucking on a lollipop, the sugar and high acid content in these sweet mixers can lead to various complications to your teeth and gums—not to mention the negative impacts of forgetting to brush your teeth before going to bed.
Alcohol in large quantities can also reduce natural saliva production in your mouth, effectively giving you a dry mouth. Saliva washes away harsh acids and acts as a natural antibacterial to prevent bacterial growth.
Other adverse effects of dry mouth, sugary drinks, and acidic ingredients from summer cocktails include:
- Tooth decay
- Permanent enamel damage
- Plaque or biofilm
- Gum diseases
What Cocktails to Avoid for Your Teeth?
Alcohol and a healthy mouth don't generally go hand-in-hand, and these summer drinks, in particular, can do some serious damage to your teeth:
- Red and white wine
- Tequila sunrise
- John Daly
- Spiked lemonades and punches
- Darker, heavier beers
- Vodka cranberry
- Vodka and energy drinks
- Bloody Mary (minus the celery)
- Whiskey or rum and coke
You may be familiar with red wine-stained teeth, but don't pour that glass of chardonnay just yet—both red and white wines are highly acidic. The good news is, you can help balance the pH in your mouth with some cheese. Seriously!
What Alcoholic Drinks Are Best for Teeth?
Clear drinks like vodka water might be your best bet for teeth-friendly summer cocktails. Gin is also one of the least acidic liquors. Clear liquors in moderation are not only low on sugar, but they can also kill some of the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath.
Summer Tips for Healthy Teeth
Saying goodbye to some of your favorite drinks for the sake of your teeth isn't easy. If you must indulge, consider some of these tips:
- Swap tonic for water
- Drink from a straw
- Swish water around in your mouth after every few sips
- Wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth after drinking something high in sugar or acidity
- Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva production
Though some warm weather refreshments may cool you down, they could be doing damage to your teeth, and nobody wants to spend their summer with a toothache. Preventive care is always key for good oral hygiene. Keep this guide in mind next time you reach for a cold beverage so you can keep your lovely smile.
Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider.