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May the Force Be With You: Dark Drinks and Your Smile

Posted on August 20, 2015 in Healthy Living

Some of your beverage choices can be bad choices for your teeth. Try some of these tooth-friendly alternatives!

Starbucks offers more than 80,000 drink options — And that's just one store chain! From coffee shops to supermarkets, thousands of beverage choices surround us everyday. There's a drink for every time and occasion.

It's no surprise then that we struggle to choose the best beverage – one that pleases our palates and nourishes our bodies.

A drink's color is one of the many ways to decipher a tooth-healthy beverage.

Dark drinks, for example, can stain teeth, dulling your pearly whites. The force is strong in lighter-colored beverages. You must unlearn what you have learned, and found we have some better options for your smile:

Breakfast Beverage

The Dark Side: Coffee

The Force: Milk

Many of us start the day with a steaming cup of joe. One serving may be harmless, but think twice before you fill your mug again. Over time, this dark beverage can seep into your teeth's enamel cracks and cause discoloration.

Forego your second cup for a chilled glass of milk. The calcium found in milk helps put back minerals your teeth may have lost due to other foods (or from your first coffee).

Workout Drink

The Dark Side: Sports Drinks

The Force: Water

Most popular sports drinks are high in sugar and acid. That combination can wreak havoc on your smile. Why not stick to the original athlete's ale?

Water quenches your thirst and is crystal clear of the harmful stuff. Depending on an activity's intensity, workout drinks can be beneficial to some athletes. Dilute your sports drink with water for a tooth-healthy compromise.

Lunch Soda

The Dark Side: Cola

The Force: Sparkling water

Sugar isn't the only factor that makes dark sodas dangerous. Brown-colored colas contain chromogenic agents, chemicals that can cause tooth discoloration.

Sparkling water mimics the carbonation in soda – without the sugar. Add lemon or lime wedges for a kick of citrus.

Happy Hour Cocktail

The Dark Side: Red wine

The Force: White wine

Although it's true red wine can benefit heart health, it's not your smile's first sip choice. The tannins in red wine dry out the mouth and make teeth sticky, worsening stains. If you must indulge in a merlot, swap sips with cheese. The chewing stimulates saliva, which neutralizes the wine's acidity. So, if you decide to host a wine night, make sure you add cheese to the guest list.

Make every happy hour a celebration with a glass of white wine. Clear wines tend to have lower pH levels than red wines. Remember to pop a glass, not the whole bottle.

The darkness of your drink isn't the only factor to consider. Sugar and acidity matter too! And, just because it's dark, doesn't mean you need to avoid it completely. Enjoy your favorite colored beverages in moderation — brushing twice a day will help, too After all, everyone has a dark side.