If you’re among the many people who enjoy alcoholic beverages, it’s important to understand how they affect your body, including your teeth and gums. Oral health is impacted by drinking in several ways, and without regular visits to the dentist and a dedicated daily routine, serious problems can arise. Here’s a closer look at the connection between alcohol and dental care.
How Alcohol Affects Your Oral Health
Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body. The more alcohol the drink contains, the more it dries out the body and subsequently the mouth due to insufficient saliva production. Dry mouth increases susceptibility to tooth decay, gingivitis, and gum disease because food particles, bacteria, plaque, and acids aren’t getting flushed from the teeth and gums. Chronic dry mouth dramatically increases the risk of these oral health problems.
The sugars and acids in wine, beer, and spirits also increase the risk of tooth decay, especially when multiple alcoholic beverages are consumed within a short period, because enamel gets inundated. Tooth enamel is also susceptible to alcohol-related staining due to chromogens, or the substances that give libations their color. The darker the drink, such as red wine or stout beer, the greater the risk of staining.
How to Protect Your Teeth & Gums
Dentists emphasize limiting alcoholic drinks to protect your oral and overall health and drinking water at the same time if you do indulge. Sipping water dilutes alcohol while also rinsing the mouth of sugars and acids.
Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day using a soft-bristled brush, floss daily to reduce plaque production, and see your dentist every six months for teeth cleanings and checkups. Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash, consume more whole foods that naturally clean teeth, and avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking. These steps will leave enough space in your daily life to drink alcohol in moderation.
If it’s been more than six months since your last teeth cleaning and checkup, schedule an appointment with Dr. Robert N. Petrtyl, DDS. The family dentist serves patients of all ages in the greater Cincinnati, OH, area, including Finneytown, Winton Hills, and Blue Ash. Call the dentist with over 30 years of experience today at (513) 554-4657 to make your appointment or learn more about Dr. Petrtyl online.