What Does Alcohol Do To Teeth?

added on: November 18, 2015

alcohol and teethIt’s around this time of year when we’re bombarded with parties, family celebrations, and impromptu get togethers. It’s also when we tend to have more alcohol available to us than any other time of the year. While we know you understand the serious complications drinking too much alcohol may have on your body, all of us at our Manassas and Reston dental offices want to make sure you also know how alcohol can affect your teeth.

Why Is Alcohol Bad for Teeth?

Alcohol is naturally dehydrating — both to the body and to your mouth. When your mouth becomes dry, enough saliva isn’t produced. This is a problem. Saliva rids your mouth of unwanted, dangerous bacteria and neutralizes damaging acid. Without it, your teeth are vulnerable to acid attacks and decay. What’s more, alcohol is high in both sugar and acid. When you combine those ingredients and take away the saliva that’s meant to wipe them away, your teeth are left exposed to the dangers of enamel wear, decay, cavities, and more.

What Can it Do?

Over-consumption of alcohol not only increases the risk for decay and cavities, it may also lead  to more serious oral health concerns like oral cancer and gum disease. In fact, recent research has shown that excessive drinkers are three times more likely to suffer from serious gum disease than a non-drinker. Gum disease is a dangerous problem that not only affects the mouth, but can lead to more complicated issues throughout the body like heart disease, increased risk for stroke, and diabetic complications.

How to Protect Your Smile.

  • Brush & Floss — It’s recommended you brush twice a day and floss once a day. After drinking an alcoholic beverage, wait 20 minutes, then brush. It can help decrease the negative effects alcohol has on the mouth.
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption — The best way to avoid problems caused by alcohol is to reduce the amount you have. Also try to drink a glass of water in between multiple adult beverages.
  • Seek Help if Needed — If you suspect you have an addiction to alcohol, we encourage you to seek counseling.
  • Visit Your Dentist Regularly — At least every six months is crucial for catching any problems early.

At our dental offices in Manassas and Reston, we’re dedicated to the health of our patients — both their oral health and overall health. Many times the first signs of an alcohol problem show in the mouth. This is one reason we recommend keeping up with regular appointments. If you’re overdue on your checkups, give us a call. We’ll be happy to see you.

Serving patients from Manassas, Reston, and Northern Virginia.