That old saying “you are what you eat” should really include the word “drink” don’t you think?

The type of beverages we consume have a major impact on our oral health, so if we want to keep our teeth white and healthy until old age, we need to be conscious of a lot more than just what we are eating!

Here are our top five beverages to avoid and why.

1) Fizzy drink – that refreshing, bubbly, full of sugar, pop of energy that we all know is bad for us but drink anyway.  It’s awful for our teeth. Just think back to those school science projects and that baby tooth dissolving in the glass of cola. What makes fizzy drinks so bad for us is twofold. It contains high quantities of both sugar and acid. Nothing deserves the number one spot in this list more than fizzy drink.

2) Coffee – if you’re like many, you start your day with a cup of coffee.  As well as waking you up, your morning ritual will surely be staining your teeth. Coffee can turn your teeth an ugly yellow by revealing the dentin beneath your enamel. Take your coffee with sugar? You’ll increase your chance of cavities due to enamel erosion.”

3) Sports drinks – rely on a thirst quenching electrolyte hit after or during exercise? Many are marketed as healthy, needed to rehydrate your body. However the high acid and sugar content in these drinks can damage tooth enamel even more than some fizzy drinks can.

4) Alcohol – whether you prefer a nice glass of wine, cracking open a six-pack or your favourite liquor on the rocks, the strength of most alcoholic drinks can wear down enamel. Its sugar content can also contribute to periodontal disease, whereas red wines leave particularly heavy stains over time.

5) Juice – not all fruits juices are terrible. Stick to the 100% pure ones and you’ll be getting a bunch of health benefits. However plenty of juices are loaded with extra sugar. And beware, juice containing citrus including grapefruits, oranges, and lemons are loaded with acids that wear down tooth enamel.

So, what should I drink?

There’s nothing wrong with drinking water. No sugar. No artificial sweeteners. Not too harsh on your wallet either. Bit boring for you? Why not jazz up your glass of water with some ice and some mint, cucumber or infuse with some berry fruits? If you’re feeling a bit adventurous try your water with some cinnamon sticks!

Milk is great for your teeth. Milk contains phosphorus, calcium, and casein which all help strengthen teeth and stop decay. Plus, the sugar found in milk is lactose, which does not promote decay as much as other sugars because it produces less acids.

No one is suggesting you shouldn’t enjoy certain types of drinks every so often. Remember that moderation is key, alongside exercising good oral care habits that include brushing twice a day and flossing daily.