Is Alcohol Bad For Your Teeth?
Alcohol is taught to be consumed in moderation - but are we forgetting how even ‘moderate’ consumption can harm our teeth? Alcohol not only affects the liver and mind, but it can damage your teeth. Find out how to avoid alcohol related damage, and how to enjoy a drink without fretting about the damage to your teeth.
Alcohol strips away saliva, leaving behind a dry mouth. The acid content in alcohol then moves in to provide the perfect dry and low pH environment for bacteria to strike. For the mouth to fight bacteria, it requires saliva acting as a protective layer that works to avoid bad breath, cavities and gingivitis.
To avoid dry mouth, stay hydrated with water whilst drinking, and eat food in between drinks. If you notice that your mouth is becoming dry, take a break from the drinks and get hydrated.
Staining from beverages and food can be unavoidable, but there are ways to reduce the impact of staining from alcohol consumption. The simple answer is: don’t consume alcohol with dark soda or red wine. Understandably, this isn’t ideal. We still want you to enjoy yourself - so let’s break it down and find some workarounds.
The colour in beverages comes from something called chromogens. When a beverage is consumed, the chromogens attach to the tooth enamel. Mixed with the acid in alcohol, the tooth becomes compromised and subject to staining. Aside from the sugar content in alcohol, the worst staining agent comes from dark coloured sodas and red wine. If having a white pearly smile is important to you - stay clear of dark coloured beverages. Trade them in for clear beverages with reduced sugar content.
If you want to be extra safe, we suggest drinking with a straw!
Long Term Effects
According to Australian health guidelines, it’s recommended that both men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. This is the equivalent to 5 pints of beer. If you drink above the recommended amount - you could be at risk for developing oral cancer. The risk is six-times greater for smokers when they combine their alcohol consumption with smoking.
To avoid oral cancer and other potential perils, cut back on your alcohol consumption and have regular checkups with your dentist.