For most people, a holiday season is like spending time with loved ones with great food, drinks, and many more things. But whether you want champagne, wine, beers, or mixed drinks, you must remember that alcohol and teeth do not go well. A proper oral hygiene regimen can expel the signs of tolerance while you enjoy your holidays.
If you drink alcohol moderately, it will not significantly impact your teeth, but it is vital to know the risks involved. Individuals suffering from alcohol abuse have a high level of plaque and an enhanced risk of periodontal diseases, tooth loss, mouth sores, and tooth decay. In addition, alcohol abuse also improves your chance of oral cancer.
Here are different ways in which alcohol might affect your teeth:
- Bacteria present in your mouth feed on sugar. So, when you sip some sugary drinks such as alcohol, it assists the bacteria in thriving. Such bacteria produce acids that will eat away at your teeth, weaken the enamel, and lead to tooth decay. If you think of having a drink, then it is good to select alcohol with less sugar, like dry wine.
- The colors in your beverages come from chromogens. This attaches to your tooth enamel that is compromised because of the acid in the alcohol, thereby staining your teeth. One of the best ways to bypass this is by drinking alcohol using a straw. If you like drinking liquor mixed with sodas or like to drink red wine, then do not expect to have a white smile. Besides the sugar content, soft drinks that are dark in color can also stain or discolor your teeth. Keep in mind to clean your mouth using water in between drinks. Beer is comparatively good when compared with other beverages.
- Drinks with high alcohol, such as spirits, can dry your mouth. Saliva in your mouth keeps your teeth moist and assists in removing plaque and bacteria from the surface of your tooth. In addition, dry mouth also generates an environment for periodontitis, a disease categorized by gum recession, bleeding gums, infection, plaque, and pocket creation. Your gums often get pulled away from your teeth. Gum diseases caused by dry mouth are associated with a high incidence of diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, and stroke. Try staying hydrated by drinking a lot of water when you are drinking alcohol.
- Alcohol also causes loss of enamel. As you age, it's essential to keep your enamel strong. Enamel is the solid outer layer of your teeth that acts like a protective cover. If your enamel is worn away because of acidic foods and drinks, you will start noticing that your teeth become more sensitive and highly susceptible to tooth decay. Dark beers and sour beers are more acidic than light beers. You should reconsider if you habitually add citrus to beer, such as a lemon or an orange. When you add citrus, you make your beer more acidic and thus causing damage to your enamel.
- Teeth damage from alcohol increases when you chew the ice in your drinks as it breaks down your teeth.
- Alcohol consumption also causes dehydration as it prohibits the formation of a chemical known as ADH, responsible for regulating the total amount of urine you are excreting. When you drink alcohol, your kidney expels more water than it should under normal conditions, causing dehydration. It can lead to salivary glands atrophy, thus reducing the saliva flow. This is why many people suffer from dry mouth after drinking.
So, if you have a habit of drinking alcohol, then here are a few tips that help in keeping your mouth fit and healthy:
- Always drink in moderate amounts. If you feel that you have issues with alcohol addiction, you can talk to your doctor or your dentist to get assistance.
- Drink a lot of water. Drinking a lot of water helps you wash away all food and acid, especially when eating and drinking.
- Brush and floss daily. Other than brushing, it is vital to do flossing as a toothbrush cannot reach places between your teeth where there is the possibility of formation of tartar and plaque.
Last but not least, always visit your dentist on time to reduce the buildup of tartar. While in your dental clinic, remain honest with your dentist about alcohol consumption. Your dentist can educate you about several lifestyle problems regarding your dental health. MyDentalPlan.in is a platform that helps you access several dentists. Make an appointment to obtain a dental cleaning and session on maintaining your teeth in tip-top shape.
About the Author:
Suprithi Choudhary, M.Pharm (Pharmacology) Medical Content writer
Suprithi is a Pharma Professional working as a medical content writer and previously worked as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Analyst
- C.M Academy
- Attended the Panjab University- Chandigarh, Pharma post-graduate in Pharmacology
Special thanks to Dr Deepak Kulkarni, a dental surgeon with over 23 years of experience who proofread this blog. He graduated from the H.K.E's Dental College, Gulbarga, and has certifications in ACHS International Accreditation Education Plan; Advanced Rotary Endodontic - Restorative Continuum; and Leadership, Team Building and Customer Service Leadership from the Oscar Murphy International.