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What Drinks Are the Worst for Your Teeth?

woman and man drinking soda, which is bad for your teeth

Much care goes into keeping your teeth healthy. Your brushing and flossing routine, regular check-ups and cleanings with your dentist, and of course, what you eat and drink are all incredibly important. Most people are aware that certain drinks can increase your risk of tooth decay, but which ones are the worst offenders?

In most cases, sugar is the defining characteristic of drinks that are bad for your teeth. Bacteria in your mouth consume sugar, which allows them to grow and multiply. These bacteria are responsible for both tooth decay and gum disease, so letting them grow out of control has a serious impact on your oral health.

Avoid these drinks as much as you can to help preserve your teeth:


Most people are already at least partially aware of just how bad soda can be. With states across the country considering sugar taxes on soda, it’s clear that it’s one of the main offenders when it comes to sugary drinks.

Most sodas contain truly staggering levels of sugar. They’re also highly acidic, which causes wear on your enamel. Cola and other dark sodas can also stain your teeth, leaving you with an unsightly smile that could have you seeking out cosmetic treatment from your dentist.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks might sound like something incredibly healthy, but they really aren’t in terms of oral health. These drinks are full of electrolytes and sugar, which both serve to refill your body’s reserves during strenuous physical activity.

However, the sugar in these drinks is just as harmful as the sugar in any other. While they do provide athletes with some benefits, you certainly shouldn’t be drinking sports drinks if you don’t actually need them for that purpose.


Plenty of parents think that they’re making a better choice for their children by giving them juice instead of soda. Of course, they’re absolutely correct. However, just because juice is better than soda doesn’t mean it’s easy on teeth.

Even 100% natural juices contain plenty of sugar. Many juices are also acidic. While full of vitamins and nutrients, juices can have a negative impact on teeth. Avoiding excess juice and going with water most of the time is generally the best option.


Alcohol is bad for your oral health, but in a different way from other beverages. Alcohol reduces saliva production, which can leave you with a dry mouth. This provides optimal conditions for bacteria to grow and multiply.

Many alcoholic beverages are also full of sugar, particularly mixed drinks. Wine and other similar alcoholic beverages also stain your teeth, which can become very noticeable over time. Ask any dentist, and they’ll advise against essentially any alcoholic beverages.


Coffee on its own isn’t too much of a problem. This dark beverage can stain your teeth, which is something many people would like to avoid. However, it isn’t really a health concern. The problem is that few people have coffee with nothing else in it.

When you add sugar and syrups to your coffee, you’re drastically changing its impact on your teeth. Many flavored coffees are incredibly high in sugar, and the syrup used in many such beverages is particularly harmful because of how much it sticks to teeth.


Like coffee, tea isn’t a serious threat on its own. You could experience discoloration of your teeth, but this isn’t a health matter by itself. In fact, some types of tea actually provide beneficial effects and can even regulate bacteria in your mouth.

However, when you add sugar, you’re making tea just as harmful as any other sugary beverage. Of course, this also applies to iced teas as well, which typically contain massive amounts of sugar.

Sparkling Water

Most people already know the impact that beverages like soda and juice can have on their teeth. However, few people are aware of how damaging sparkling water can be. They assume it’s the same as regular water, but this isn’t the case at all.

Sparkling water is carbonated just like soda, which causes it to be just as acidic. This acidity contributes to long-term wear on the enamel of your teeth. You should also consider that many beverages marketed as sparkling water contain flavoring and sugar as well, essentially making them no different from soda.

Make Sure You Have a Dentist for Your Dental Needs

Avoiding drinks that are bad for your teeth is great for your long-term oral health. However, it isn’t a substitute for routine visits to the dentist. Dr. Brett Langston can provide for all of your dental needs at Dental Implant and Aesthetic Specialists of Atlanta. Contact our office today to book your next appointment.