Wine lovers always cite the health benefits of a glass of red wine–the benefits that are obtained alongside a healthy diet and exercise. But red wine may not be great for your oral health, which depends on the concentration of drinks and how often you brush your teeth.

The acidity of red wine leaves a mark on your teeth and over time that takes its toll. Many alcoholic drinks are filled with sugar and possess high acidity levels, which is worrisome for dentists. Red wine can not only stain teeth, but cause a progression of bacteria-based infections that could ultimately lead to gum disease.

Acidic beverages like red wine attack the tooth enamel, making your pearly whites more susceptible to bacteria. Sparkling wines or champagne are the worst offenders and attack teeth the hardest, which is why it’s better to drink a flat drink than a fizzy drink based on lesser carbonation.

Acidic drinks are a major problem for teeth during the summer or fall months, when people are more likely to drink acidic fruit punches or attend celebrations where they will drink champagne. Drinking water between drinks may help to curb the adverse effects of acidic alcoholic drinks, because water can rinse out your mouth and replenish the saliva lost when consuming alcohol.

There are other drinks besides red wine that stain teeth. Coffee-based cocktails or dark juices have the same negative impact on teeth. This is why we recommend brushing teeth thoroughly after consuming these beverages shortly afterwards so that the drink has time to settle and the teeth are not susceptible to the adverse effects of brushing with acids on the teeth.

If the news about coffee is upsetting, don’t worry too much because there might be some unintended benefits to drinking coffee. Researchers recently did a study to see whether coffee could lower the risk of gum disease when consumed regularly. A research team at Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine conducted the study which appeared in the Journal of Periodontology.

The study showed that drinking coffee regularly had a minimal impact on the number of teeth affected by bone loss. To compile the data, a group of more of than 1,100 of adult males ages 26 to 84 were studied. This study was the first of its kind to explore the possible periodontal impact of drinking coffee.

These results were on a small test body and may not be conclusive in determining how oral health will be impacted by regular coffee drinking. In general, coffee is known to stain teeth and contribute to cavities in sugar varieties. Be sure to check with your dentist when consuming different types of beverages, and call our office if you are a regular drinker of wine and coffee so that we can prescribe a dental regimen that keeps your teeth acid free and shiny.