It’s no secret that alcohol can be bad for you. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually, which makes it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Even recent studies published lately, call into question U.S. guidelines defining “low-risk” drinking as two drinks a day for men and one drink for women. Not only can alcohol damage the liver, increase your chances of cardiovascular disease and cancer, it can also do significant damage to your oral health.
Whether you drink beer or wine to wind down after a long day of work, here’s how alcohol can affect your teeth, and why you might consider skipping a drink more often than not.
Alcohol Can Promote Disease
A recent study published in the journal, Microbiome, has made the argument that drinking can increase the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases by changing the mouth’s microbiome, affecting the whole body. By killing off helpful bacteria, and promoting the growth of harmful bacteria associated with periodontal disease, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can imbalance microbes associated with cancer and chronic disease.
Drinking wine, sangria, and even beer more than once a week can discolor your smile, as well. Like green tea or coffee, these drinks have a high quantity of staining agents that become lodged in the natural ridges of your enamel, making them look yellow. Although teeth whitening is a great solution, the results are only temporary, and will fade faster if you drink regularly.
It was just Cinco de Mayo, and the margaritas were plentiful. That can lead to a good time, but too many can quickly eat away at your enamel, predisposing you to cavities and gum disease. That’s because our natural enamel, though the hardest substance in the human body, can quickly dissolve when exposed to acidity. Alcohol and citrus are incredibly acidic and can quickly damage our teeth if we drink too much. Worse, if the alcohol we’re drinking contains copious amounts of staining agents, they can get under enamel that’s been weakened and stain your teeth faster. The most acidic drinks are wine and cocktails with lemon or lime.
Beware Sugary Drinks
Sugar intake can also play a significant role in tooth decay and overall oral health. Specific bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar. When given sugar, these mouth bacteria produce acid that damages the gums, and can lead to cavities.
Impacts on Oral Hygiene
Alcohol can also impact the care that you’re giving to your teeth. If you’re prone to drinking to excess, you’re more likely to skip oral hygiene at night. Every night you don’t brush or floss gives oral bacteria more time to attack your teeth and gums. And because alcohol dries your mouth, oral bacteria proliferate on nights when you’ve been drinking. You will see an increased risk of gum disease and cavities.
Drinking in moderation is fine, but it’s important to understand how drinking can affect your overall oral health. If it’s been awhile since your last dental appointment, it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment. Talk with your dentist about drinking, and how it affects your teeth.
If you are looking for a general dentistry practice in Pueblo, that provides individual, personalized care, Advantage Dental Group has 20 years history in the community. Our team cares deeply for our patients and is highly experienced. Please call (719) 545-1400 today for an appointment.