Hard Seltzers and Their Effects on Your Teeth

hard seltzer drinks

Is Hard Seltzer Damaging Your Teeth?

When you walk into any grocery store’s alcohol section or any bar or restaurant, chances are you’ll see various brands of hard seltzers. During the last few years, hard seltzers have skyrocketed in popularity and have become many people’s drink of choice. But are these drinks causing damage to your teeth and oral health? The short answer is yes.

What Are Hard Seltzers?

Hard seltzers contain carbonated water with added sugar that’s fermented so the sugars turn into alcohol. Then, most are often infused with natural or artificial flavors. Typically, hard seltzers have an alcohol percentage between four and six percent. They’re advertised as a low-calorie, low-sugar alternative to beer, mixed drinks, or wine. While the low-sugar option is beneficial for tooth health, other factors can cause unwanted oral health damage.

a hard seltzer drink

How Hard Seltzers Are Damaging Your Teeth

Since hard seltzers are high in acidity, they can cause damage to your tooth enamel — and once your enamel is gone, it’s gone forever. Hard seltzers may also cause dry mouth, creating an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. However, it’s important to remember that like any other alcoholic beverage, the effect it has on your health depends on how much you consume, how often you drink, and the brand. 

The damage hard seltzers (or any other alcoholic drink) do to your teeth is also influenced by your oral health habits. Dental provider Dr. Keith MacDonald recommends patients should visit their dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and checkups to aid in excellent oral health. They should also follow an at-home routine of brushing their teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and rinsing between meals.

Why Is Hard Seltzer Bad for Teeth?

There are two main culprits to why hard seltzer is harmful to your dental health:

  1. Carbonation
  2. Sugar

Carbonation in the seltzer comes from carbon dioxide and water — creating carbonic acid. While carbonic acid is a weak acid, it can still gradually eat away the enamel of your teeth. Just as well, natural fruit flavoring (which is an ingredient in many hard seltzer beverages) increases the acidity, making it worse for your teeth. 

While hard seltzers are advertised as low in sugar, the sugar contents still play a role. Sugar feeds bacteria in the mouth and once that bacteria grows, one of the byproducts of growth is an acid that gradually wears down your tooth enamel.

Young woman sitting in the dental chair looking at her smile in the mirror

Healthier Hard Seltzer Alternatives

While no alcoholic drink is considered “healthy” for your teeth, there are a few options that are considered the healthiest to consume when it comes to keeping your teeth in good shape.

  • Light beer is a low-sugar and low-acidity option when compared to dark beers. It’s also a great option over a dark beer as it’s less likely to cause unwanted staining. 
  • Gin and soda are low in sugar and gin is the least acidic spirit available. It’s also clear, which means you don’t have to worry about tooth staining. You can even switch the tonic water with plain soda water — lowering the sugar content even more. Try adding a squeeze of fresh lime into the drink to add flavor or even fresh cucumber slices.

Should I Be Concerned About My Teeth if I Drink Hard Seltzers?

If you drink in moderation, there’s not much reason to worry. However, if you do drink alcohol or hard seltzers regularly and you’re concerned about your oral health, you can schedule a dental appointment. Dentists like Dr. Susan Fredericks provide patients with oral health examinations, dental cleanings, and custom treatment plans to put their worries to rest.