Best—and Worst—Alcoholic Drinks for Your Teeth, According to a Dentist

Find out if your drink of choice is promoting gum disease and tooth decay.

Most of us spend more time than we'd like sitting in a dentist's chair. But what if we told you that your weekly nightcap is doing more harm than good to your teeth? It shouldn't be surprising that alcohol can damage your enamel, but some choices are worse than others.

So, is beer as bad for your teeth as a margarita or champagne? Here are the best and worst alcoholic beverage offenders when it comes to our pearly whites, plus a few easy tricks to fight back.

How Alcohol Impacts Your Teeth

According to Evelyn Lucas-Perry, DDS, MPH, a dentist at Aspen Dental, drinking is one surprisingly serious way we may be accelerating our oral and dental health issues, such as staining and dryness.

"Drinks are colored by chromogens that attach to tooth enamel that's been weakened by the acid in alcohol," she explains. "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."

Worst Alcoholic Drinks for Your Teeth

The following beverages in this section are listed from the most to the least offensive. In short: Sweet cocktails damage teeth more than wine and champagne. However, take care after consuming any type of alcohol by following the tips below.

Sweet Cocktails

The high alcohol content in liquor combined with sugary fruit juices, syrups, or soda (used as mixers) exposes our teeth to large amounts of acidity. This leads to decreased enamel hardness and increased tooth sensitivity. Spirits also dry out the mouth, which can cause bad breath.

Sweet White Wine

Largely due to its high sugar content, sweet vino is some of the most damaging to your dental health. Sipping wine over long periods of time also doesn't give your mouth time to rebalance, making your teeth more susceptible to staining. White wine is highly acidic, too.

Red Wine

In addition to being acidic and damaging enamel, red wine contains dark pigments that can stain teeth. "However, it does contain antioxidants," says Dr. Lucas-Perry.


Champagne's sugar content (while better than sweet white wines) combined with carbonation can cause gum disease in addition to tooth enamel erosion over time. But this drink is less likely to stain teeth than red wine.

Best Option for Oral Health


Beer does not damage your teeth as much as other alcoholic beverages. Surprised? So are we. "Due to lower acidity and higher water content, beer is the best option for your teeth when trying to avoid cavities and tooth erosion," explains Dr. Lucas-Perry.

Apparently, our teeth are anything but highbrow, because Lucas-Petty says the lighter the beer, the better. If you're dedicated to looking after your pearly whites, try swapping out your IPAs and stouts for lighter beer options.

Simple Solutions

"If you want to help neutralize these acidic effects, drink in moderation and try snacking while drinking," suggests Dr. Lucas-Perry. "Cheese contains calcium and helps prevent stains from sticking to your teeth."

To remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth's surface, it's important to stay hydrated. Try swapping out your cocktail with a few sips of water to rinse out your mouth throughout the night.

Additionally, drinking through a straw will minimize contact with your teeth, and chewing sugar-free gum helps stimulate saliva that'll rinse away lingering sugar.

To help your teeth recover the morning after a night of celebrating, you can neutralize the acidic pH in your mouth by using fluoride mouthwash after you brush your teeth.

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  2. Dehghan M, Tantbirojn D, Kymer-Davis E, Stewart CW, Zhang YH, Versluis A, Garcia-Godoy F. Neutralizing salivary pH by mouthwashes after an acidic challenge. J Investig Clin Dent. 2017 May;8(2). doi: 10.1111/jicd.12198.

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