‘Everything in moderation’ seems to be the key to a healthy life. Alcohol is one of those things. According to the CDC, moderate drinking is one drink per day for a woman and two drinks per day for men. Any more than this and you risk damaging your health, including the health of your mouth. Here’s what you need to know about the effects of alcohol on oral health.
The effects of alcohol on oral health
People who consume more than moderate amounts of alcohol regularly are more likely to have gum disease, experience tooth decay, and get regular mouth ulcers. Cancer Research figures say that alcohol also causes 35 out of every 100 cases of mouth cancer in the UK.
How does alcohol affect teeth?
It causes staining
Compounds called chromogens which are present in drinks like red wine and dark mixers can stain teeth. The compounds attach to the tooth enamel which has already been weakened by the acidity of the drinks, and staining occurs. If you drink red wine regularly, you aren’t likely to have the whitest teeth. If you’re a beer drinker, don’t think you get away with it either. Dark beers which contain dark barley and malts can stain teeth too. To reduce the risk of staining, drink water in between alcoholic drinks. If the staining has already taken hold, use a good teeth whitening pen to restore them to their former glory.
Alcohol makes your mouth dry
High alcohol drinks such as spirits make the mouth dry. This reduction in protective saliva means that bacteria can flourish and plaque can develop. A dry mouth also causes bad breath. Stay hydrated with water in between alcoholic drinks.
Ice and a slice in your drink? Think twice
Do you always opt for ice and a slice in your G&T? Chewing the ice in your drinks may feel refreshing but it can break your teeth. A slice of lemon might enhance flavour, but according to the American Dental Association, it can erode protective tooth enamel due to its acidity.
Is alcohol all bad?
Consuming alcohol in moderation is advised. Though there are thought to be health benefits from drinking alcoholic drinks like red wine, on balance, the damage alcohol does to your overall health and oral health suggests that the risks outweigh the benefits.
For more interesting articles on oral health, check out the rest of our blog.