St. Patrick’s Day: Beer and Your Dental Health

2 green bears on left with green foam, green beads with shamrocks strewn over and beside glasses, against light wood background


This Thursday, March 17, is St. Patrick’s Day and there are plenty of ways to celebrate in and around Houston, Texas.


While the festivities can bring great fun, they can also bring great trouble. According to NBC News, dentists see a 64% increase in emergency dental visits the day after St. Patrick’s Day. Too much alcohol can result in undesirable consequences, including physical altercations and subsequent harm to your teeth.


Beer is the most common alcoholic beverage consumed on St. Patrick’s Day, with many bars offering green brews for the celebration.


While physical damage to your teeth is a great reason to limit the pints you have this Thursday, here are 3 more reasons you should limit the number of beers you consume on March 17.


The Acids in Beer are Bad for Your Teeth

There are acids in beer and acids can lead to tooth decay. Acids in your mouth break down the enamel of your teeth (the outer layer of your tooth and the strongest part of your body). When the enamel of a tooth breaks down, the tooth is more susceptible to decay and developing cavities.


Glass of dark beer with foam and a 4 leaf clover on top against dark oak wood background


Darker beers, usually brewed with roasted malts and barley, can stain the enamel of your teeth. While one dark beer won’t stain your teeth, drinking dark beers regularly can gradually affect the color of your teeth.


Green beer is generally made with food coloring. You risk staining your teeth with the green color when you drink this special beer. The stain won’t be permanent, but it will look like you brushed your teeth with seaweed for the entire day.


Long Exposure to Acid Harms Dental Health

Acid attacks last for about 20 minutes and every time you take a sip, the process starts all over again. If you’re sipping on beer the entire night in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, you’re exposing your teeth to harmful acids throughout the entire night. Constantly bathing your teeth in beer maintains an environment that’s perfect for enamel erosion.


The odds are that if you are intoxicated, you will not think to brush your teeth before you go to bed. If you don’t wash away the acids from alcoholic beverages, your teeth will be exposed all night long to the acids in the alcohol you drank, allowing the acids to break down your enamel.


Illustration of a tooth with decay in crown of tooth, through the enamel and dentin to the pulp, sitting in gums


Alcohol and Dry Mouth

Saliva is your mouth’s natural defense against tooth decay. The saliva you generate washes away food particles in your mouth. The bacteria in your mouth feed on food particles and produce acids that lead to tooth decay.


Alcohol consumption results in a dry mouth; when food particles aren’t washed away, your teeth are at greater risk of decay because the bacteria are free to produce acids.


Dry mouth also leads to bad breath; the bacteria in your mouth cause bad breath and without saliva, your mouth cannot wash the bad smell away.


Woman with bad breath sticking out green tongue


While it’s common to have beer on St. Patrick’s Day, make sure you keep your dental health in mind.


For more information or to schedule a dental appointment, contact Greenspoint Dental in Houston, Texas. We are dedicated to providing you and your loved ones with the best dental care.