Alcohol and Your Oral Health

 
During the holiday season, most enjoy partaking in social festivities, which could often involve drinking. Whether it's cocktails on a night out with friends or a glass of wine over a home-cooked meal with family, we sometimes tend to consume more alcohol during this time. As fun as it may be, it is safe to say that we start to feel its impact once January rolls around.

In order to help our bodies recover, some choose to have a dry January, one where they do not drink for the entire month. While it may seem drastic to some, most people are unaware of how bad alcohol can be for our oral health as well as overall health.

Some of the negative implications of drinking are:

  1. Alcohol dries out our mouth: When our mouth is dehydrated, we tend to produce less saliva, which allows oral bacteria to grow and cause real damage to our teeth.
  2. Alcohol is acidic: Acidic drinks can erode the enamel on our teeth. With less enamel to protect our teeth, we are at risk of experiencing tooth sensitivity or even pain.
  3. Alcohol has sugar: A lot of alcoholic beverages, like beer, contain large amounts of sugar. Consuming large amounts of sugar found in drinks could increase our risk of tooth decay.
  4. Oral Cancer: According to a study, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol has been linked to oral cancer and other upper aerodigestive tract cancers. People who drink in excess increase their risk because alcohol encourages the growth of bacteria.
  5. Stained Teeth: Red wine, sangria, and similar dark-coloured drinks can turn your teeth red and may result in long-lasting discoloration and dullness.

Where is the Happy Middle?

Sure, abstaining from alcohol would be extremely effective when improving our oral health. However, instead of going cold turkey, it is better to find a happy medium.

Here are 3 tips to help reduce the negative impact of alcohol:

  1. Designated Drinking Times: Restricting drinking to mealtimes would help reduce the exposure of our teeth to acidity.
  2. Drink Water: Drinking water after having an alcoholic beverage can help not only wash the sugar away, but also adjust the pH levels in our mouth.
  3. Use Alcohol-Free Mouthwash: Like water, mouthwash can help get rid of acidity from alcoholic beverages. Certain mouthwashes can also help protect our teeth by coating them in a protective substance that fights against gum disease or sensitivity. Make sure to read the label when buying a mouthwash to ensure you are getting the right care for your teeth!

With a little extra attention and care to your oral health, it is okay to enjoy yourself this holiday season. Just remember, moderation is key, make sure you rinse your mouth after, and don't forget to schedule a checkup with us once the festivities are over!