Best party drinks for teeth
It might not quite be the party season we are used to this year, but there are bound to be a few fun times between now and the end of the year. But if you’re trying to look after your teeth, it can be difficult to know which drinks to choose.
There are a few reasons why party drinks can be a problem for teeth – even if you are not eating as well. Firstly, many of the drinks at parties or in the pub are acidic (sour) and/or sugary, both of which can cause damage to the enamel on our teeth, leading to erosion or cavities. Secondly, when we’re out with friends we tend to sip our drinks over many hours, which means any negative effect on teeth can go on for a really long time.
Here are 5 of the most tooth-friendly options for your next night out:
Simple water is always the best option. Still water won’t cause you any problems, no matter how long you sip it for. Sparkling water isn’t quite as good because it is slightly acidic, but it’s still one of the kindest choices out there. Avoid flavoured or sweetened waters as these are often not as healthy for teeth as they might seem.
Beer is slightly acidic, and different types of beer have different levels of acidity. Barley malt lagers are about pH4-5, which would be low enough to damage teeth, but real ales are usually much less of a problem, especially pale ales. Be aware they might still cause teeth staining, although this is not harmful.
The high alcohol content of spirits has a drying effect on your mouth, which means that any acids or sugars are less easily washed away, leaving them stuck in your mouth where they can cause dental damage. If you really want to drink spirits, plain gin is very low in acids and sugar, making it a good choice. Just make sure your mixer is tooth-kind too: avoid fruity or sweetened/fizzy mixers (too much acid) and go for still or sparkling water instead.
Vodkas vary in their acidity levels – cheaper vodkas can be quite acidic and therefore more damaging to teeth than premium brands, some of which are fairly neutral to teeth. Choose water or ice and a mixer, plus cucumber or mint leaves for added flavour.
A good old cup of tea is a safe option for long-term sipping, as long as you leave out the sugar. It has almost no acid in it and with added milk you will also get the benefit of some calcium. Avoid ‘iced teas’ – the sweet lemony flavour is not helpful for teeth.
And if none of these options appeals to you, there are still ways to look after your teeth. For example, drinking a glass of water between other drinks will help lessen any effects, as will restricting sugary/acidic drinks to the start of the night. You can also choose to use a paper straw while you sip, which will help keep the drink away from teeth, to minimise damage.