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How Alcohol Affects Your Oral Health

Dentist in Crest Hill

If you’re planning on attending a number of holiday parties this season, you’ll likely enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two. While drinking alcohol in moderation is okay, heavy drinking can actually prove to be quite damaging to your oral health. (According to the CDC, heavy drinking is defined as more than eight drinks a week for women and more than 15 per week for men). Here are some of the effects that heavy drinking can have on your mouth.

1. Alcohol increases tooth decay.

Those who drink heavily are actually at greater risk for cavities for a number of reasons. For starters, alcoholic beverages are often high in sugar content. The bacteria in plaque feeds on sugar and, in turn, releases harmful acids onto the surface of your teeth that cause decay. Heavy drinking can also lead to vomiting which is highly corrosive and damaging to your teeth.

2. Alcohol stains your teeth.

A number of alcoholic beverages stain your dental enamel. Beer, for example, is acidic and contains dark barley and malts that can stain the surface of your teeth. Red wine is also known for staining the color of your dental enamel. These alcoholic beverages contain chromogens which attach to the surface of your teeth after the acid in alcohol wears away at your dental enamel. This causes the stain on your teeth that can make your teeth look dull or discolored. To combat the staining effects of alcohol, try drinking alcoholic beverages with a straw.

3. Alcohol leads to dry mouth.

Many forget one of the more damaging side effects of alcohol to your teeth is dehydration. Beverages with high alcohol content such as spirits tend to dry the mouth and decrease your saliva production. When your teeth aren’t properly moistened with saliva, it makes them more susceptible to the damages of harmful bacteria. To keep your teeth in good condition and your mouth properly moistened, be sure to drink water between sips of your alcoholic beverage or chew sugar-free gum.

4. Alcohol increases your risk of disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol abuse is the second most common risk factor for oral cancer. Heavy drinkers also have a greater risk of gum disease as well, which can have major health repercussions including increased risk of heart disease, respiratory illness, stroke, and more.

To improve your oral health, be sure to schedule a regular dentist appointment every six months. Call Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics today to book your visit!

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