(480) 899-52402470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

Daniel G. Kline DDS - Chandler Dentist

(480) 899-5240

2470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

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How Bad is Green Beer on Teeth?

Posted by Editor in , , , on March 16, 2017


There’s no big secret to the creation of green beer—it’s just regular beer full of green food coloring. Food coloring is notoriously strong and prone to temporarily staining your teeth. The good news is that green food coloring doesn’t have the same literal red flags as red food coloring. Red 40 is a main ingredient in red food coloring, and has been linked to immune system tumors in mice as well as hyperactivity in kids (not that kids would be drinking food-color infused beer anyway!).

Red 40 has p-Cresidine, dubbed by the US Department of Health and Human Services as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” However, currently there’s no official word on whether Red 40 is toxic. Green food coloring is made with propylene glycol, FD&C Yellow 5, FD&C Blue 1, and propylparaben (which is a preservative). Relatively safe, the FD&C colors have been tested on mice, rats and dogs. It was determined to be an irritant to eyes, skin and lungs while boasting its very own (Material Safety Data Sheet) stating it’s “very hazardous in case of ingestion.”

However, that “very hazardous” rating is really for ingestion in large amounts. The odds of a person drinking a toxic amount of green food coloring on St. Patrick’s Day is slim to none. (Really, you’re more at risk of overdoing it on alcohol than on food coloring).

Garner Your Own Luck

Beer is considered a moderately acidic beverage than can wear down tooth enamel over time. However, wine and soft drinks as well as citrus juices are much more acidic than beer. The most acidic beers are sours. To treat your teeth a little kinder this St. Paddy’s Day, opt for a classic Guinness instead of a green or sour beer. You’ll be much more in keeping with authentic celebrations, and enjoy a better pint in the process.

Corned beef and cabbage is another staple, although cabbage can be very high in acidity. It’s fine to indulge once a year, but you might want to check out a shepherd’s pie instead. It’s better for the teeth and is more of a comfort food than the more traditional cabbage and beef combo.