While there is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying alcohol and parties during the holiday season, make sure that you do not abuse your teeth by dousing them in alcohol this season. Drinking too regularly not only negatively affects your own health through increased caloric consumption and changes to mood and perception, but also risks your teeth’s health. So think about dental health the next time you consider the adverse effects of alcohol (right behind liver failure and death).
Alcohol is high in sugar content and acids. Over time and with extreme consumption, these two factors are dangerous. The sugar and acid are causes of tooth and enamel deterioration, which can weaken the sockets that hold the teeth in and can result in gum pain as they weaken and recede. Additionally, the substitution of alcohol for water can be damaging to the teeth, which need water regularly as a mouthwash and rinse for all the harmful substances in the mouth.
Many people do not brush their teeth after drinking and fall asleep or do other things in their daily routine. Not brushing your teeth afterwards can cause the sugar to stick in the mouth for a prolonged period of time, eventually causing buildups and cavities.
Alcohol also dries out the mouth, resulting in less saliva production. Saliva is the body’s natural defense against the harmful bacteria that hide in teeth and stay put if not brushed away. A dry mouth creates a warmer atmosphere for these bacteria to grow and thrive. So make sure that if you are drinking you continue to stay hydrated–for every glass of alcohol have a glass of water.
Studies have also linked alcoholic beverages with cancers of the mouth and throat. This risk can be increased even with a glass of wine a day, however, so take this study lightly. Especially if you are drinking in moderation during the holidays, you will probably not face an issue. In general, some drinkers may feel less motivation to take care of their teeth. Dentists believe that many patients who consume alcohol regularly are indifferent towards the state of their teeth and may not floss regularly or even brush teeth. But don’t let a drink or two come between you and your healthy smile!