The Impact of Alcohol on Your Oral Health
During the holiday season, many of us enjoy participating in social festivities, which could often involve consuming alcohol. Whether it's cocktails on a night out with friends or a glass of wine over a home-cooked meal with family, we sometimes tend to consume more alcohol during this time. While we are probably aware of the negative effects alcohol can have on our overall health, many do not know how bad it can be for our oral health. As fun as it was, it is safe to say that we start to feel the impact of too much alcohol consumption once the festivities are over.
What are the negative effects of alcohol on your oral health?
- Dry mouth: Drinks that have a high alcohol content, like spirits, can lead to a decrease in saliva. Saliva keeps teeth moist and helps to neutralize and wash away bacteria from the tooth's surface.
- Increased risk of cavities and tooth decay: Alcoholic beverages are often highly acidic, which can erode the enamel on your teeth and increase the risks of tooth sensitivity. Drink mixers like sugary pops, syrups, or juice also contain a high amount of sugar, which increases the risk of tooth decay.
- Staining: Red wines and even dark beers can stain your teeth and may result in long-lasting discoloration and dullness. Dental works like crowns and veneers are also more vulnerable to staining.
- Oral cancer: According to a study, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol has been linked to oral cancer and other upper aerodigestive tract cancers.
How can you enjoy alcohol and maintain your oral health at the same time?
In order to help our bodies recover after the holidays, some choose to have a "dry January" where they do not drink for an entire month. While abstaining from alcohol would be an extremely effective way to improve our oral health, it may be better to find a happy medium. Check out our 3 tips below to help reduce the negative impact of alcohol:
- Designated drinking times: Restricting drinking to mealtimes only would help reduce the exposure of our teeth to the effects of alcohol.
- Rinse your mouth with water: Rinsing your mouth with water after you have an alcoholic drink will help wash away cavity-causing sugars and acids and also keep you hydrated.
- Chew sugarless gum or snack on cheese: This will help stimulate saliva flow to rinse sugar and acids from your teeth and prevent dry mouth.
With a little extra attention and care to your oral health, it is okay to enjoy yourself at social gatherings. Just remember, moderation is key and be sure to take care of your mouth after drinking alcohol. Don't forget to schedule a checkup with us once the festivities are over!