Many of us dream of a pearly white smile and brush our teeth twice a day as a lifetime hygiene ritual, heck, you may have even dabbled with home teeth whitening products. But did you know, having multiple cups of char a day and a cheeky red wine on a Friday night could be undoing all your hard work?
We’ve spoken to Dr Rob, a Cosmetic Dentist with over 30 years’ experience and owner of *The Smile Dentist and Perfect Lips, about the drinks you should avoid to maintain a bright white smile.
1. Fizzy Drinks
Whether you’re a coke fiend or obsessed with orangeade, you probably know they’re full of sugar. In fact, the energy kick this gives may be the whole reason you love them so much.
Sadly, although they taste delicious and give you a little boost, fizzy drinks are full of acid and sugar by-products which weaken teeth’s enamel and causes cavities. The dentine underneath this enamel will not be white as you’re used to, but a darker yellow colour.
Like fizzy drinks, you may rely on coffee for your morning dose of caffeine, but it is actually one of the worst drinks for staining teeth. In fact, when a patient has a teeth whitening treatment from The Smile Dentist, we advise them to avoid drinking coffee for a few days after.
Although not as bad as coffee, tea can also stain your teeth - especially if you drink it without milk. You should also let your tea cool slightly before you take a sip, as sudden temperature changes can stress your tooth enamel and cause small cracks to appear.
4. Sports Drinks
Although sports drinks are ideal for replenishing electrolytes after a punishing workout and are a tasty alternative to water, many popular options are high in acid. This acid will damage enamel, making your teeth appear yellower and feel sensitive.
Whether it’s a large glass of red with a meal, a whisky and coke late at night or a bloody Mary during a relaxing break, many of us enjoy a tipple or two, but like many of the drinks on this list, alcohol can wear down enamel. Depending on your poison of choice, these may also be full of sugar and the cause of staining too.
6. Bottled Water
Ok, so it’s not technically bad for you, but bottled water is not as good for your teeth as basic tap water. Why? Well, naturally occurring fluoride is removed during the filtering and purification process, which can make the water taste cleaner, but is removing the beneficial tooth decay preventing properties.
7. Citrus Juices
Last but not least, citrus juices may be full of vitamins and nutrients – plus they taste delish – but they are also highly acidic too. Some even have added sugar so it tastes sweeter. If you’re going to have a glass of OJ in the morning, make sure to enjoy in moderation in order to protect your gnashers.
So, What Should You Drink?
It may seem obvious (and maybe a bit boring), but the best thing you can drink to look after your teeth is plain old tap water. It has no sugar, is not acidic, and most will have added fluoride which helps prevent tooth decay and keeps your teeth looking whiter for longer. Thanks to its high calcium and protein content, milk is also a recommended option.