The holiday season is definitely over, and with it comes all those good excuses to drink too much delicious eggnog and other adult beverages. Whether you’re glad to see the end of the holidays or are still washing them down with a glass of wine in the evening it’s time to get back to the reality of 2016 and your oral health.
Let’s start with all that celebrating you did: the only problem was the sweets, right? Not quite. All that booze is hard on your teeth too, perhaps more than you realize! So put away that Kentucky bourbon and let New Albany Implants help you understand who alcohol is so bad for your teeth!
Holiday Favorites: Loaded With Sugar
For starters let’s talk about everyone’s favorite drinks: cocktails. Whether you like a traditional gin and tonic, a jack and coke, or some crazy sugar-filled Louisville bourbon mix there’s one thing for sure: cocktails are loaded with sugar. It’s not just the holiday specials you need to watch out for either! Sugar in your alcoholic drinks just adds to the already dangerous levels of acidity in many drinks, and when combined create a lethal combination that can devastate your smile.
You probably know that sugar is bad for your teeth, but do you know why? It’s not that the sugar itself is the risk. In fact, it’s because sugar is the catalyst for acid that your oral bacteria creates. And what does alcohol contain aside from sugar? Acid!
All those acids sloshing around in your mouth are what cause tooth decay. They weaken the enamel of your teeth, eventually eroding it away like a boulder in a river. Your oral bacteria is always looking for a safe toothbrush-free place to hide, so it gets into those cavities and keeps making more acid, which makes more cavities, and so on.
What About Non-Sugary Alcoholic Drinks?
It isn’t just the sugar that’s the problem: it’s the acidic nature of alcoholic drinks themselves. Taking out the sugar only goes so far in preventing tooth decay, and it doesn’t matter how sweet a drink is: it still does damage.
Alcohol also dehydrates you, which leads to less saliva production. Saliva is essential to keeping your mouth clean and clear of food particles, bacteria, sugar, and acids, and without enough saliva to keep your mouth clean alcohol is able to do even more harm. So when people tell you to alternate a drink with some water there’s more than just a hangover you’re trying to fight!
There’s also a huge increase – upwards of 30 percent – in your chance of developing oral cancer if you’re a heavy drinker. Alcohol can cause serious damage to soft tissue in your mouth, like your gums and cheeks, which increases your risks of cancer and of gum disease.
In short, alcohol can be a serious harm to your oral health by damaging both your teeth and your gums – limit your intake to prevent serious damage!
Preventing Oral Health Harm From Alcohol
The easiest way to prevent harm from alcohol consumption is easy: don’t drink it. That isn’t always realistic for everyone, especially around the holiday season, so just be sure to moderate your intake as well as following these tips:
- drink plenty of water while you’re drinking alcohol. The extra bathroom trips are worth protecting your teeth: trust us!
- Be sure you’re brushing your teeth and flossing every day. It’s also important to remember that your enamel is weakened by acids, making it easy to scrape away with a toothbrush. Give your teeth at least 20 minutes after your last drink to firm back up.
- If you can, try to avoid sugary alcoholic drinks. It’s much safer for your teeth to exclude the extra acid assault even if it doesn’t make a complete difference.
Lastly, be sure you’re seeing us every six months for an exam and cleaning. If you want to prevent the erosion, decay, and gum disease risks associated with drinking it’s essential that you get professional dental care! Just a couple hours a year can save you a lot of time and money later in life.
Make An Appointment Today
If you aren’t sure your teeth are ready for the new year why not come in as soon as you can? Don’t take a chance with your teeth when preventive care is so simple. Call New Albany Implants today at (812) 945-7645 or request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!