Throughout the day, we frequently consume food and drinks without considering how they affect our dental health. Most people are aware that soda and candy are harmful to our teeth. Most people are aware that candy and soda are harmful to our teeth, but we often forget the impact that alcohol can have on our oral health. Whether you prefer beer to wine or mixed drinks to champagne it’s wise to think about the ways that your drink of choice interacts with your teeth.
Today, the Lehigh Valley Oral Surgery & Implant Center team is here to discuss some of the ways that alcohol affects your teeth.
As most of us know, sugar intake can be a major contributing factor to tooth decay. Bacteria that lives in our mouths feeds off of the sugar that we consume, so sipping on sweet alcoholic beverages provides damage-causing bacteria with the fuel that it needs to thrive. Try to choose drinks lower in sugar to reduce the amount of ammunition that bacteria has to harm your teeth.
To combat your sugar intake, toast to dry wine. Typically, dry wines have much less sugar than sweet wines. Dry wines usually have less than 1 gram of sugar per ounce, whereas sweet wines can have 2 or more. Champagne and other alcoholic beverages have a similar scale—the drier the drink, the better for our teeth.
After a glass of red wine, you might notice a dark stain across your teeth. Alcoholic beverages like wine, sangria and other dark-hued drinks can have long-lasting discoloration effects on your pearly whites. If you choose to consume dark beverages, ensure that you brush your teeth with strong whitening toothpaste that will remove the alcohol stains from your enamel.
While it may not seem important, proper hydration is absolutely essential to dental health. Because alcohol is a diuretic, your body will grow dehydrated after a single night of drinking, leading to dry mouth. Saliva is the first line of defense for our teeth. When dried out by alcohol, our mouths do not produce enough saliva, so the harmful materials that should be washed away remain on our teeth.
To prevent dry mouth, make sure that you drink water during and after a night of drinking. Alternate alcoholic drinks with glasses of water to keep your mouth clean and saliva flowing. Additionally, you can chew sugar-free gum or mints to further increase saliva production.
Drinks like champagne, spritzers and some mixed drinks are carbonated. While carbonation can make beverages bubbly and tasty, it also eats away at the defensive enamel of your teeth. Carbonic acid, the chemical that makes the drink bubble and fizz, is corrosive and damaging to your teeth.
In order to avoid tooth decay brought on by carbonic acid, limit the amount of carbonated alcoholic beverages that you consume. Brush your teeth and follow up any drinks with water to stay hydrated and to minimize the damage of carbonic acid.
After a long night out on the town, it’s tempting to fall right into bed without brushing your teeth. This is perhaps the worst thing that you can do to your dental health, as disregarding your brushing and flossing routine allows the bacteria to remain on your teeth and continue to inflict damage until you brush.
The solution here is obvious…brush your teeth! It may not be the first thing on your mind when you come home from a night of drinking, but you and your teeth will be thankful after you do it.
It’s always important to consider the effects that alcohol on our dental health. Before heading out for the night, remember that the beverages that you consume can have both immediate and lasting effects on the health of our teeth and gums. Keeping these things in mind, however, can greatly minimize the damage to your teeth caused by drinking alcohol.
When consumed in moderation, it is unlikely that you will experience any severe, lasting effects of alcohol. The best thing to do is maintain good oral hygiene habits, which involves regular dental visits. Make an appointment at the Lehigh Valley Oral Surgery & Implant Center today!
Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry
Lehigh Valley Oral Surgery and Implant Center
2571 Baglyos Circle, Suite B23
Monday: 7:30AM – 3PM
Tuesday: Emergencies by appointment
Wednesday: 8:30AM – 5PM
Thursday: 8:30AM – 5PM
Friday: 7:30AM – 3PM