The Effects Of Alcohol On Oral Health

How Bad is Alcohol for Your Teeth?

Hello, and welcome back to the Kruckman Family Dentistry blog! As a Waconia area dentist office, we want to make sure that as many people as possible are informed about oral health issues. While you might not think about it too much, the health of your mouth can greatly impact the health of the rest of your body. For this reason, it is important that everyone take the necessary steps to make sure that their oral health is as good as possible. In the first of a two part blog series, we are going to to go over the effects that alcohol can have on the overall oral health of a person. While alcohol is a substance that is enjoyed by millions of people in the United States, it is also a substance that should be treated with caution. Continue reading below to learn more.

Don’t Abuse Your Teeth

In life, we are given one set of permanent teeth to work with. Because of this, we assume that most people want to make sure that they take care of their teeth as well as they possibly can. While there are options available to replace your natural teeth, such as dental implants, dental crowns, and dentures, these options are something that should be considered a last resort, not a viable alternative to proper tooth care. Most people are aware of the fact that brushing and flossing are necessary to maintain proper oral hygiene, however, making a conscious effort to avoid food and drink that are harmful to your mouth is also necessary to make sure that your oral hygiene is optimal. While the effects of sugar on people’s teeth has been long documented and exposed to the general public, fewer people are aware of the fact that alcohol can be just as bad, if not worse, than drinking multiple sodas a day. Below, we have listed a few of the side effects that regular consumption of alcohol can have on your teeth.

  • Tooth Decay: When you drink alcohol on a regular basis, you are allowing a large amount of acid and sugars to coat your teeth. Even though soda and highly acidic juices receive the lion’s share of blame when it comes to tooth decay, alcohol can be just as guilty if you do not take the proper steps to eliminate its effects. Believe it or not, alcohol is actually full of sugar. While this sugar takes time to manifest, the longer the residual alcohol is in your mouth, the longer it has to turn into sugar. As most people know, sugar is like superfood to the bacteria in your mouth. As they consume this sugar, they release acid as a natural by-product. This acid works to strip the enamel of the teeth, exposing the teeth to an increased risk of decay. If the sugar wasn’t bad enough, alcohol in and of itself is acidic. This added acid works to increase the overall pH level in the mouth, further damaging enamel. If you are going to partake in alcohol, we highly recommend that you sip water while you do so. Not only will this cause you to drink slower, it will help to rinse away the excess acid and sugar that alcoholic beverages contain.
  • Gum Disease: Periodontitis, or gum disease, is one of the most common medical afflictions in the United States. It is estimated that millions of people across that country experience some stage of gum disease and, unfortunately, many people don’t even know it. Alcohol works to increase your chances of gum disease in two ways. The first way, as we mentioned in our previous point, has to do with the amount of alcohol that alcohol imparts on the teeth. As the sugar content of the mouth increases so does the amount of acid that is able to be produced by the bacteria in the mouth. Secondly, alcohol causes the mouth to become drier than normal. Alcohol is a naturally dehydrating substance. The more alcohol that is consumed, the less efficient the body is at making saliva. This is a bad thing because saliva is the body’s first line of defense against bacteria in the mouth, a line of defense that cannot be compromised. Again, if you are going to drink alcohol, we strongly suggest that you also drink water while doing so. This will not only balance out the ph of your mouth but will also make sure that your salivary process is less affected from alcohol consumption.

Join us again next time as we continue to cover some of the effects that alcohol has on the health of your mouth. Also, if it has been a while since you visited the dentist or you are looking for a new dentist that is able to treat you and your family, please contact us today at Kruckman Family Dentistry. We happily serve patients in the Waconia area and we would love to be able to be your dentist of choice.