Let's face it, having a drink after a long week can really take the edge off things. With more and more scientific research emerging around the effects of alcohol, there are even some options now that are healthier than others - check out our list of the 5 healthiest alcoholic drinks if you're interested. However, when it comes to dental care, let's just say it's not as positive as you'd hope.
According to Dr. Evelyn Lucas-Perry, a dentist at Aspen Dental, drinking alcohol is one serious way we may be accelerating our oral and dental health issues: "Drinks are coloured by chromogens that attach to tooth enamel having been weakened by the acid in alcohol...and due to the high acidity and amount of sugar in the majority of alcoholic beverages, drinking puts us at greater risk of cavities and erosion of tooth enamel."
Keep reading to find out which alcoholic drinks you should be avoiding for the sake of your teeth...
1. Vodka cranberry
Despite cranberry being a fruit, it still contains an excessive amount of sugar. It was even discovered by the Local Government Association that Ocean Spray Cranberry Classic juice had 11g of sugar per 100ml whilst a can of full fat Coca-Cola has 10.6g, really putting things into perspective.
It's also well-known that vodka has a drying effect on the mouth, which can be harmful when consumed in large volumes. Saliva protects your teeth from damage so if the vodka dries your mouth out, your teeth will be vulnerable to enamel erosion.
2. Bloody Mary
Tomato juice is a highly acidic beverage, meaning consuming Bloody Marys makes you prone to enamel erosion and tooth decay. Lemon juice is often added to enhance the flavour which increases the chance of these effects happening even more. The strong colour also has a chance of staining your teeth - it doesn't sound great, does it?
Prosecco is very good at eroding both the protective enamel on the tooth’s surface and the dentine underneath, leaving drinkers at risk of damaged and discoloured teeth. Its sugary and acidic content is why it has a reputation among dentists, no matter how lovely it may taste!
4. Whiskey and coke
Coca-Cola, with its harsh mix of carbonation and sugar, has a pH level of 2.5, indicating how acidic it really is. Whiskies are also moderately acidic, mostly falling in the pH 3 - 4.5 range. Both whiskey and coke are dark in colour, worsening the risk for surface-level stains.
Whether it’s your standard apple cider or another flavoured variety, all ciders have a high acid content. This can contribute to acid wear and will potentially destroy the enamel of your teeth, increasing your risk of developing tooth decay.
What can you do to protect your teeth whilst drinking alcohol?
1. Dilute your intake
Put some ice in your drink or consume a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages. It will help cleanse your teeth from any nasty residue.
2. Use a straw
This will reduce contact time between the drink and your teeth, preventing any acids from lingering. It will also keep your lipstick in tact (see, useful hey?)
3. Chew gum
Chewing gum between drinks increases saliva flow and can neutralise some of the acid.
4. Use a little mouthwash
After your last drink, have a swish of mouthwash to boost the recovery speed of your teeth.
Looking for some more dentistry knowledge? Have a look at these 3 foods you should never eat first thing in the morning, according to dentists.