Dentist Dr Greg Grillo ponders the pros and cons of a good old Cocktail

Cocktails, a popular part of any night out can be found in nearly every bar, restaurant and pub.

A popular alcoholic drink choice due to the masking of alcohol flavour with creativity, sweetness or sourness. But whilst we’re enjoying our cocktail happy hours, just how much damage can these drinks do to our teeth?

Interested in the best and worst cocktails for our teeth, ExpressDentist.com used BrewSmartly.com’s findings on the most popular cocktail recipes and then analysed those with the most sugary content.

“Cocktails often mix sugar and acid, and it’s not always easy to know what’s in a drink. A pH below 5.5 can damage enamel, and even a squeeze of lime or lemon affects acidity. The best advice is to limit intake, and follow-up with water to reduce the length of exposure.”

-Dr Greg Grillo, dentist and spokesperson for ExpressDentist.com

The results are very sweet…

Rank

Cocktail

Sugar Content in One Serving (grams)

% of Daily Sugar Intake in One Serving

1.

Pimm’s

25.3

84.3%

2.

Espresso Martini

25

83.3%

3.

Moscow Mule

23

76.7%

4.

Sangria

22

73.3%

5.

Mimosa

20

66.7%

6.

Aperol Spritz

19

63.3%

7.

Tom Collins

17

56.7%

8.

Mai Tai

16.6

55.3%

9.

Long Island Iced Tea

16

53.3%

10.

Passion Fruit Martini

16

53.3%

11.

Piña Colada

13.6

45.3%

12.

Tequila Sunrise

11

36.7%

13.

Whisky Sour

9

30.0%

14.

Bloody Mary

8

26.7%

15.

Sex on the Beach

8

26.7%

16.

Cosmopolitan

8

26.7%

17.

Daiquiri

7

23.3%

18.

Margarita

5

16.7%

19.

Mojito

4.3

14.3%

20.

Dirty Martini

0.4

1.3%

The worst cocktail for your teeth, in terms of sugar content, is the British summer classic, Pimm’s. This gin-based fruit cocktail contains around 25.3 grams of sugar which is equivalent to 84.3% of your daily recommended free sugar intake.

In second place is the Espresso Martini. Although a great caffeine boost when out drinking, one serving contains around 25 grams of sugar (83.3% of the total daily recommended free sugar allowance), it should be drunk in moderation.

Ranking in third, one serving of a Moscow Mule consists of 76.7% of the daily recommended free sugar intake – 23 grams of sugar. Typically served in a copper mug, this cocktail entails vodka, spicy ginger beer, and lime juice.

On the other end, the Dirty Martini is the best go-to cocktail as it only contains 1.3% of the total daily recommended free sugar allowance (0.4 grams of sugar!). Although not advised, you could drink 23 cups of this beverage to fulfil the daily sugar limit!

“Alcohol naturally dries out the mouth, and tooth decay tends to progress faster in a dry mouth. So, try to limit sugar sweeteners and juices. [When making your own cocktails] Adjusting recipes with moderate consumption helps your oral and systemic health.”

-Dr Greg Grillo, dentist and spokesperson for ExpressDentist.com


Methodology:

  1. ExpressDentist.com utilised BrewSmartly.com’s research on TikTok’s current most popular cocktail recipes as a seed list. 
  2. ExpressDentist.com then trawled BBC Good Food to collect the sugar content of one serving in each of the cocktail drinks. If there were multiple recipes, the highest-rated cocktail was taken into consideration.
  3. Using NHS’ daily sugar recommendation (30 grams for adults), ExpressDentist.com calculated each cocktail’s contribution to the daily intake of free sugar and expressed this as a percentage.
  4. Results were ranked in order of those with the highest percentage of daily sugar intake in one serving.
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