Alcohol is common in society and many celebratory occasions will involve at least a toast with an alcoholic beverage. That said, it’s important to know that alcohol can cause conditions in your mouth that are less than ideal for your teeth and oral health.
Alcohol Contains Sugars
Our whole lives we’ve been told to avoid sweets because sugar can cause cavities. This is accurate. The bacteria in your mouth actually thrives on sugars and the end result is plaque and tartar, which can cause cavities and gum disease.
Choose alcoholic beverages that are lower in sugar. Avoid drinks with sweet mixers such as soda or juice and choose drier, less sweet wines and champagnes because they contain less sugar and thus, are less damaging to your teeth.
Alcohol is Dehydrating
Saliva flow in the mouth helps wash away sugars in the mouth, giving them less of an opportunity to begin forming plaque on your tooth surfaces. Alcohol, however, increases dehydration and reduces saliva flow in the mouth. The end result of dehydration is less bacteria is washed out of your mouth and this provides a much friendlier environment for bacteria to multiply and cause tooth decay.
Consider having a glass of water between alcoholic beverages to help rinse away sugars. Another helpful trick is to chew sugarless gum, which increases saliva production. Either way, increasing saliva and rinsing away sugars is a good policy if you’re going to be partaking in alcoholic beverages.
Alcoholic Drinks Can Be Acidic
When alcohol is mixed with acidic drinks such as fruit juices, soda, or energy drinks, the acids can erode your tooth enamel. If you drink these beverages regularly, your tooth enamel will gradually erode, resulting in compromised and sensitive teeth. Using a straw can help direct beverages away from your teeth but it’s recommended you also alternate your drinks with some water to wash away acids and consider using a re-mineralizing toothpaste if you drink acidic or sugary alcoholic beverages.
Some Alcoholic Beverages Contribute to Tooth Stains
Strongly colored alcoholic beverages such as red wines and drinks with deeply colored juice mixers can discolor your teeth and contribute to long-lasting tooth stains.
You can counter these stains by regularly brushing with a whitening toothpaste that contains hydrogen peroxide or, if you prefer more dramatic results, by visiting A Caring Dentist for a professional dental whitening procedure.
Dr Patel can evaluate your oral health or tooth staining concerns at our Carrollwood or Wesley Chapel dental office locations. Make an appointment today!