30 MAY 2024

The drinks you consume can have a significant impact on your oral health. According to the Oral Health Foundation, certain drinks can pose serious threats to your teeth and gums, leading to issues such as tooth decay, enamel erosion, and gum disease.

Dental experts are now shedding light on these 'devilish drinks' that can negatively affect your smiles. From sugary sodas to acidic fruit juices, these drinks can cause more harm than you realise, making it crucial to understand their effects and make informed choices.

As part of National Smile Month, Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation highlights how your drink choices can influence your smile.

Fizzy drinks 

Fizzy drinks generally contain a lot of sugar and can damage your teeth. A can of regular cola, for example, contains seven teaspoons of sugar (35g), which is more than the daily amount recommended by the government.

If you drink fizzy drinks regularly, it's not good for your teeth. Besides the high sugar content, the charity warns that the acidity in fizzy drinks is another problem.

"High sugar content and acidity levels make fizzy drinks a double threat to oral health," says Dr Carter. "They can damage the enamel on your teeth, leading to tooth decay, dental erosion, and discolouration. Over time, this could result in painful tooth sensitivity.

“Instead of sipping these drinks throughout the day, it is better to have them with meals. Using a straw can minimise contact with your teeth. And remember, nothing beats water for hydration during the day. Let's not rely on fizzy drinks for that."

Energy drinks

Energy drinks are packed with sugar, acid, and usually a lot of caffeine.

According to the Oral Health Foundation, the caffeine in these drinks can make your mouth really dry. Without enough saliva, which protects the teeth, you're more likely to have dental problems.

“When you add the high sugar content found in many energy drinks to the caffeine which is reducing saliva production, your chances of getting tooth decay increase,” adds Dr Carter. “Saliva in your mouth helps to water down the acid from plaque that forms when we eat and drink. If your mouth is dry, these acid levels stay high for a longer time.

“So, for the sake of your oral health, it's a good idea to steer clear of energy drinks. Keep that smile healthy.”


Cocktails and mixed drinks might be the life of the party, but they’re not so great for your teeth.

Dr Carter says: “Cocktails, often made with alcohol, fruit juices, syrups, or sugary sodas, can expose your teeth to a lot of acid. This, along with the high sugar content, can lead to increased tooth sensitivity and decay. Plus, spirits can dry out your mouth, leading to bad breath – not exactly the impression you want to make on a night out or a date.

“What’s more, some cocktails can account for over 80% of your daily sugar intake. So, while they might taste great, it’s worth thinking twice before ordering another round.”

When it comes to sugary cocktails, Pimms, Espresso Martinis, and Sangria are some of the biggest culprits. On the other hand, Dirty Martinis, Mojitos, and Margaritas are much kinder to your teeth.

The charity advises to choose a diet mixer for your drink to reduce the sugar content.

Remember, drinking in moderation is important for both your oral health and overall wellbeing.


Wine can have a detrimental effect on your mouth, whether you are partial to a glass of red or white.

Wine drinkers in the United Kingdom consumed about 244 millilitres of wine per week in 20211. Its alcoholic content can dry out your mouth and often is highly acidic too. 

Dr Carter says: “Having a dry mouth can leave you at risk of a variety of issues including bad breath, tooth decay and make it difficult to speak or eat.

“Constantly sipping wine can mean that your mouth doesn’t have the time to produce more saliva, try to drink some water between glasses if you can. Some wine may have more sugar added to it such as sweet white wine but just remember to keep an eye on how much you consume. Alcohol affects your while body and mouth.”

Fruit juices

Fruit juice can be seen to be very healthy for your body however it may not always be the case for your mouth. Fruit juices and smoothies often contain a lot of free sugars.

“Vitamins and minerals found in fruit juice can be great for your overall health but the levels of acidity and sugar can be detrimental for your teeth,” adds Dr Carter.

“Constantly sipping fruit juice throughout the day can leave your mouth open to acidic attacks for a prolonged time. This can cause dental erosion leading to sensitive teeth and a higher risk of cavities.”

The Oral Health Foundation says that water and milk are the best tooth-friendly choices when it comes to drinks.

For more information about diet and oral health, visit www.smilemonth.org.

 1 Wine consumption in the UK 2005-2022 | Statista