Alcoholic drinks generally do not have a good effect on your body.
When you think of diseases caused by alcohol, you may be reminded of liver cirrhosis.
However, it also has a significant effect on your oral health.
These problems can be short-term as well as long-term.
Cutting back on these drinks can help reduce the extent of the issue or help eliminate it.
This article discusses the harm drinking poses to your oral health.
Keep reading to know why you should quit or limit it.
Alcoholic Drinks Harm
A moderate amount of alcohol per day is 1 glass for women and 2 for men.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8 glasses for women and 15 for men account for high alcohol content and heavy drinking.
The more you drink, there is greater the risk for health and behavioral issues.
You can have a greater risk of cancer or high blood pressure.
Hence, it is best to not drink at all to prevent these health issues.
Though, there are people who cannot and should not drink at all.
Pregnant women or those who doubt that they are should not drink any alcoholic beverage.
This can harm the unborn child as well as the pregnant woman.
Similarly, lactating women should also try to refrain from drinking even if one glass will not be that harmful to the infant.
Moreover, people recovering from an alcohol use disorder and those planning to quit should avoid or limit their use.
Similarly, over-drinkers who have no idea of how much they will end up drinking because of lack of control should refrain from drinking more.
Next, underage children should not drink until they are of legal age according to their country.
Moreover, anyone who takes medications that interact with alcohol and can make them ineffective or harmful should avoid drinking.
Even moderate drinkers can face harm to their well-being, physical health, and oral health.
The main harm to your oral health include:
In fact, it is the second most common reason for oral cancer.
Heavy drinking and alcohol abuse can cause mouth sores to develop inside making eating and speaking difficult.
Let’s find out how it damages your dental health in other ways below.
Alcoholic Drinks Cause Staining
Beverages contain chromogens that give them their color.
However, these chromogens attach to the enamel easily staining it.
The acids in the alcohol already harm the enamel making it more susceptible to stains from chromogens.
Therefore, those drinks that have a dark color like red wine can leave a red or purple stain.
But not only that, over time your teeth will become dull.
The stain will also become semi-permanent and will last longer.
These dark-colored drinks will give your teeth a hue that looks unflattering.
Though other drinks like white wine and beer can also contribute to stains.
White wine will make pores inside your teeth making it prone to enamel erosion.
The acidity in the wine will also contribute to wearing down the enamel resulting in staining.
Beer is also acidic which allows the dark color of barley and malts to discolor teeth.
Beers, wines, fermented drinks, fortified wine, long island, classic cocktail, vodka, gin, distilled alcohol beverages and distilled drinks can all cause staining.
One way to get rid of the stains caused by drinking is to drink water in between glasses or afterward.
Water helps to produce more saliva in the mouth.
Saliva helps in washing away food and acid.
Therefore, reducing the risk of enamel erosion and staining.
You can also use a straw to drink to not expose your teeth to the beverage as much as you would while drinking directly.
Moreover, do not add equal parts of lime juice, lemon juice or other citric fruits and simple syrup to further exacerbate its acidity.
Furthermore, to get rid of the stains get Teeth Whitening.
Teeth whitening helps to remove the surface level and deeper stains caused by alcohol consumption.
You can opt for zoom teeth whitening or laser teeth whitening as per the extent of your discoloration.
If many teeth are heavily stained then getting zoom whitening is your best option.
However, if only a few of them are stained, then a laser procedure can help you target specific teeth.
Results in Dry Mouth and Gum Disease
Alcoholic beverages can block the chemical. ADH in the body.
ADH controls the urine you excrete and inhibiting it results in dehydration.
This is because the kidneys then respond by expelling more water.
When it dehydrates your entire body, it also dehydrates your salivary glands.
As they produce less saliva, the mouth becomes dry.
A dry mouth is a perfect medium for bacteria to grow and plaque to accumulate inside the mouth.
Saliva washes away food stuck in the teeth and the acidic.
However, when the saliva release reduces then it becomes a breeding ground for the bacteria.
Dry Mouth is irritating but it also leads to other problems such as bad breath and gum disease.
When there is less saliva, then plaque increases.
This plaque can harden over time and become tartar.
It can worsen to form gingivitis and then periodontal disease.
Your oral health will undergo:
- receding gums
- pockets inside the gums and teeth (specifically where the teeth and gums pull away)
- bleeding gums
A study comparing drinkers and non-drinkers showed that alcohol drinkers that did not have gum disease had more occasions of gum bleeding than nondrinkers.
Moreover, those that drink alcoholic beverages had more plaque and pockets than those who do not.
Furthermore, those that did have periodontal disease noticed that their condition worsened with frequent alcohol consumption.
Hence, there is a direct link between gum disease and alcohol consumption but even without it, it can significantly impact teeth and gums.
If your gingivitis worsens leading to gum disease then it can also result in tooth loss.
However, your dentist may detect it on time in teeth cleaning.
They will clear the plaque and tartar to prevent the condition from worsening.
Moreover, you should keep drinking water and chewing gum to prevent dry mouth and keep the saliva flowing.
Your dentist can also recommend saliva stimulants.
Remember to chew only sugar-free gum, otherwise, it can result in decay. More on that below!
Contributes To Tooth Decay
Alcohol beverages contain acids and sugars.
The amount of sugar in champagne can range from 0.5 grams per 5 ounces to 10 grams per 5 ounces.
Similarly, white wine has 3 grams per 5 ounces of sugar while red wine has 8 grams.
Hence, the sugars in these beverages let bacteria feed on them.
This can result in plaque and bacteria building up on teeth leading to tooth decay and cavities.
What’s worse is that alcohol also dries your mouth.
There is already less saliva production in the mouth which contributes to more acid and bacteria staying and attacking the enamel than washing away.
Alcohol also metabolizes into sugar when it enters the mouth, hence giving bacteria another opportunity to cause havoc on your enamel.
Drinks such as mixers and alcopops have especially higher sugar content.
Furthermore, some drinks are more acidic than others.
It will not only cause decay but also the enamel to wear down.
Hence, beer, white wine, and cider will also increase tooth sensitivity and pain as these highly acidic drinks erode the enamel.
Similarly, those drinks that have a high amount of alcohol like whiskey and vodka can dry your mouth more than others.
The alcohol quantity blocks ADH and hinders its function, hence causing more dryness.
Moreover, if you chew the ice in drinks or add lemon in your drinks, then it can further erode your enamel and chip your teeth.
To prevent decay, keep drinking water and chew a piece of sugar-free gum.
This helps to decrease the number of bacteria in the mouth and regulates saliva flow.
To prevent plaque accumulation, brush and floss regularly.
You can also use a mouthwash after you have had a drink.
Strengthen your enamel by using fluoride toothpaste and fluoride mouthwash.
How to Deal with Harms of Alcoholic Drinks?
The best way to control the damage alcohol causes to your teeth and oral health is to limit its consumption.
Alcohol causes fewer health benefits and more health concerns.
Hence, it is better to either drink in moderation or slowly give it up.
Being sober isn’t easy and going full turkey can actually be fatal.
Therefore, you will have to slowly give up on your alcohol use and addiction.
Besides that, there are temporary solutions for most health concerns:
- Drink water to keep the saliva flowing and reducing stains on teeth
- Get teeth whitening to remove stubborn stains on the enamel
- Use fluoride products to strengthen the tooth enamel
- Regularly brush and floss so that there is no or little plaque in the mouth and it will not worsen to form gingivitis.
- Eat chewing gum to stimulate saliva
- Get teeth cleaning for gingivitis
However, these solutions are temporary and may emerge again if you do not give up on alcohol or moderately drink it.
If you are a drinker, then it is essential to visit the dentist regularly to identify oral health problems due to alcohol before they worsen.
You can slowly start to limit your intake of alcoholic drinks from today.
Ask your doctor about the best way to get sober keeping in mind your overall health condition.
Giving up on these alcoholic drinks will not only improve your oral health but also your general well-being and lifestyle.