In the past two weeks, we at Emerald Dental Surgery have talked about bad breath and its causes here on our blog. While there is more to be discussed regarding that, this week we take a break to discuss in brief how alcohol affects your teeth and overall oral health.
While sometimes, certain types and amounts of alcohol can be considered healthy, alcohol is generally not good for the body. It tends to have short-term and long-term effects on one’s body, brain, hormones, blood sugar and liver among others. Did you know that alcohol has negative effects when it comes to your oral health?
Whenever you take alcohol, your gums, mouth tissues and teeth are affected in some way, especially if you are a heavy drinker.
So What Is Considered Moderate When It Comes To Alcohol Consumption?
Well, women are advised to only take one drink a day while men are advised to limit their intake to not more than two per day. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention considers more than eight drinks a week for women and more than fifteen for men heavy drinking.
Here Is More On How Alcohol Affects Your Teeth And Overall Oral Health
It Causes Staining
The colors you see in different beverages comes from chromogens. These chromogens get attached to the enamel of your tooth the moment it has been compromised by acid found in the alcohol. It then leads to teeth staining. A way to curb this to an extent would be to use a straw although many alcohol drinkers rarely do so. Some people prefer to mix their alcoholic drinks with beverages such as sodas or wine. This actually does not help the situation because these soft drinks contain a lot of sugars that also stain or discolor your teeth. Beers are also acidic making them very likely to stain the teeth as a result of the dark barley and malts in them. So if you really have to drink alcohol, remember to rinse your mouth with water in between these drinks.
Alcohol Causes Dryness
We have discussed in a number of our previous posts here that saliva is very important as it prevents drying of the mouth which could cause plaque buildup, bacteria and even gum disease. However, drinks that contain high alcohol content such as spirits could lead to drying of the mouth. Therefore, whenever you are taking alcohol, always remember to keep drinking water in order to stay hydrated.
It Could Cause Tooth Decay
One of the things known to cause tooth decay is sugar intake. This is because bacteria in the mouth lives on sugar. Alcohol is rich in sugar meaning it just contributes further to bacteria thriving therefore causing cavities and tooth sensitivity.
It Could Cause Oral Cancer
Aside from the fact that alcohol causes liver problems, it is a risk factor for different types of cancers. One of them is oral cancer. For those people who like to take alcohol, the risk of oral cancer is six times higher compared to those who do not. Drinking alcohol regularly implies that your mouth and throat are often in close contact with alcohol. The four main types of oral cancer you could get include: mouth cancer, pharyngeal cancer (affects the upper throat), oesophageal cancer (affects the food pipe) and laryngeal cancer (affects one’s voice box). Out of all these, mouth cancer is the most common although generally tumors can develop on any part of the mouth.
It is therefore advised that you avoid drinking. However, this could be difficult and for that reason, you could curb the negative effects through a few practices such as:
- Alternating your drinks with water like we have mentioned. This will help rinse off any sugars or citrus that could affect your teeth.
- You could drink through a straw.
- If you like to drink then you have to be extra careful to brush your teeth regularly and always remember to floss.
- Visit your dentist regularly, preferably every six months to ensure your enamel remains intact.
If you have any problems with your teeth that are as a result of alcohol intake, kindly contact us at Emerald or visit our clinic along Rose Avenue in Hurlingham, Nairobi and we will gladly assist you.