Part of being human involves the want and need to indulge in our favorite food and beverages. Good or bad, we love to tickle our tastebuds. If you are a foodie that loves to discover new and upcoming restaurants, or that hole in the wall Mexican joint that you cherish as your own secret, you understand the love of food. Or if you have a passion for cooking for yourself, family, and friends, you too know the draw of a delicious meal.

But what is a meal without the superb pairing of a beverage? Whether it’s a fine wine to add to a perfectly cooked halibut, bring out the flavors of a beautiful cheese and berries platter, or a good old fashioned soda to wash down your burger and fries, beverages can add to the best (or worst) of meals.

But what does that mean for your teeth?

Tooth enamel is extremely porous, which makes it a great target for stains. Food and beverages that have extra acidic properties tend to wear on the tooths enamel, therefor leaving your teeth vulnerable to harmful discoloration.

There are certain beverages that not only go great with your meal, but they play a toll on the color of your teeth. The delicious Merlot may taste amazing with your steak, but the dark and robust red of it is playing it’s part on the brilliant white of your teeth.

Here are three specific beverages that you should steer clear of if you want to keep your dazzling-white smile:

Wine (not just red)

This one is tricky. Studies have shown that drinking wine can help with inflammation, which means less probability of gum disease. And studies have also shown that a glass of wine can have a positive effect on your overall health. (one, not 20, that is) However, the deep-rich color of red wine can be an enemy to the sparkle of your teeth.

So why is drinking wine bad for your teeth?

The acidity that wine brings to the party in your mouth is creating an imbalance of tartaric, lactic, malic, citric, succinic, and acetic proportions to your oral health. Even though enamel is the “hardest tissue in the human body,” it, just like superman, has its kryptonite. And once your enamel is gone, it doesn’t come back.

Bad news, carbonated drinks increase the acidity. So, although we all love a glass of bubbly, champagne has a better chance of messing with your enamel than plain old not-so-tickle-the -taste buds wine. Keep in mind that these “party” or “relaxing” drinks are wreaking havoc on the luster of your smile. All things in moderation.

Coffee & Tea

Many of the working masses need a jolt of caffeine to get them up and going each day. There is a reason that there is a Starbucks on every other corner in the United States. We roll out of bed to face our daily grind and some of us need an extra-helping hand to get through the day to day workload. That is all fine and dandy, but what is the effect of coffee and tea having on the glimmer and shine of our teeth?

Drinking coffee and tea in grand quantities can play a major role in the color of your teeth. Coffee and tea contain chromogens, tannins, and acidic compounds.

  • Chromogens – compounds with strong pigments that cling to enamel
  • Tannins – plant-based compounds that make it easier for stains to stick to teeth
  • Acids – stains set in easier because acids make the tooth enamel softer and rougher

Berries and Fruit Juices

The deep hue of cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, and blackberries are the main culprit when it comes to the staining ability of fruit juices. Whether you are eating them on their own or as part of a meal, drinking their delicious juices, or enjoying their flavor in your jelly or jam, don’t allow them to linger in your mouth. Rinsing your mouth with water will help wash away the staining properties.

Regardless of the actual color of your drink, the real damaging part of any soda, wine, juice, coffee, and sports drink is the acidity that comes with them. When the enamel is damaged discoloration starts to become a problem. Damaged enamel even encourages further staining from other foods. Be mindful when you indulge in any of these scrumptious drinks, rinse your mouth with water, have a glass of milk, or even a square of cheese can help wash any enamel damaging acidity off of your teeth. Then again, you can never go wrong with just flat out brushing your teeth.