What Alcohol Does to Your Teeth

Since April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, allow us to focus this blog post on the relationship between alcohol on teeth. Sponsored by the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month is designed to increase awareness and understanding about the causes and treatment of the nation’s top public health problem: alcoholism. The theme for 2021 is “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage.’” The target audience is youth and their parents. 

Alcohol & Teeth

We acknowledge that alcohol abuse, in and of itself, can destroy lives. But, while the national campaign focuses on the overuse of alcohol and its effect on the lives of those who overindulge, we turn our attention to the 10 ways that even moderate alcohol consumption negatively undermines oral health: 

  1. The high acid content in alcohol breaks down enamel. When enamel wears down, teeth are at risk of cavities. 
  2. Since alcohol is made almost entirely of sugar, it provides bacteria in your mouth with the fuel they require in order to thrive. 
  3. Alcohol dehydrates the mouth, along with the rest of the body. Reduced saliva leads to a condition called Dry Mouth. And dry mouth leads to a perfect environment for bacteria to breed, in lieu of being rinsed away by a healthy amount of saliva. 
  4. In addition to undermining the teeth, alcohol sometimes harms gums. Some of the damage results from dehydration. But gums sometimes suffer from drinks that contain a high alcohol content. 
  5. Although red wine is famous for playing a role in dental stains, it is far from the only type of alcohol that undermines the appearance of Pearly Whites. Malts in beer dull dental shine as a result of chromogens. These attach to enamel that’s been damaged by acid in the alcohol and cause stains. What’s more, dark barley is known to stain teeth.  
  6. Another reason alcohol use leads to dental health problems is because people who drink heavily tend to neglect personal hygiene.  
  7. People who chew ice often experience broken teeth. Since those who drink lose inhibitions, they may chew more firmly on ice while under the influence than when they are stone cold sober. 
  8. In addition to the sugar found in alcohol itself, mixers often contain an even higher concentration of sugars than the liquor itself. 
  9. Even people without periodontitis who drink alcohol have a greater likelihood of experiencing bleeding gums while brushing than those who do not drink. 
  10. Nursing a drink may seem like a good way to limit alcohol consumption. However, people who spend a long time sipping an adult beverage actually expose their teeth to alcohol over a longer period of time than those who occasionally take shots. 

If you enjoy an occasional alcoholic beverage, do so without guilt. Just don’t forget to take care of your teeth between drinks. And visit your dentist at least twice a year. Cheers!

About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora, California

Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.

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