Whether you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity or just want a whiter smile, certain beverages can help (or hurt) your dental health and appearance immensely. We consulted Dr. Brian Kantor, a dentist at Lowenberg, Lituchy and Kantor in New York, for a definitive list of the five best (and five worst) drinks for your teeth.

milk list
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The Best

1. Milk. It does a body (and your chompers) good. With loads of calcium and vitamin D, dairy keeps them strong and healthy. Milk also has something called caseins, a type of protein that forms a protective film on the enamel of your teeth to prevent decay.

2. Vodka soda. If you’re ordering a drink at the bar, ask for the clear stuff. It won’t stain your teeth, and it actually kills some of the bacteria that are responsible for bad breath.

3. Green or herbal teas. Get your caffeine fix (and tons of antioxidants) without staining your teeth. 

4. Mineral water. As its name implies, it has a high mineral content, as well as calcium phosphate, which actually helps to rebuild tooth enamel.

5. Tap water. Plain ol’ H2O still reigns supreme when it comes to your health--dental and otherwise. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it also rinses away any leftover food particles. Plus, anything from the tap should have fluoride in it, which helps to reduce tooth decay and prevent cavities.

soda list
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The Worst

1. Soda. Possibly the biggest offender of them all, this sugary drink also has enamel-destroying acid and tooth-staining caramel food coloring. And the diet stuff isn’t much better. Still, we get that sometimes you crave a can of pop. Just make sure to swish some water afterward.

2. Coffee and black tea. The darker the drink, the more it will stain. Always try to sip these caffeinated beverages through a straw and opt for lighter-colored tea--like the aforementioned green or herbal--whenever possible.

3. Wine. See above re: stains. And since it would be essentially blasphemy for us to tell you never to have it again, we suggests that you swish some water after every couple sips--or get thee some wine wipes, which are exactly what they sound like. Prefer a white? Though it won’t leave a stain, it is still very acidic. Pair your Pinot Grigio with some cheese (yay!) to restore the pH balance in your mouth.

4. Fruit juices. Especially citrusy ones like orange or lime because they’re highly acidic and (again) wear down your enamel over time.

5. Bottled water. OK, so it’s not the “worst” per say. It’s just not as good as tap because the naturally occurring (and good for your teeth) fluoride is removed during the purification process.

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