Alcohol can have a major impact on your teeth and gums, so make sure to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. Drinking in excess can lead to dental decay, gum disease, tooth discoloration, and even tooth loss. Our Boynton Beach dentist breaks down exactly how alcohol contributes to oral health issues:
The most visible effect that alcohol has on teeth is discoloration and staining. Alcohol is highly acidic, so it eats away at your enamel. This leaves your smile vulnerable to serious staining, along with other oral health issues. Many people believe that only red wine stains your teeth, but that is actually not the case. All types of alcohol can contribute to tooth discoloration, but red wine will have the most dramatic effect. Beer can also cause major stains on your teeth, especially if it is a darker brew. Professional whitening treatments can help to lift deep stains off of your teeth, but reducing your consumption of alcohol will make the biggest difference in the color of your smile. If you are drinking, try to stick to clear liquids and use a straw if possible. Make sure to brush with a whitening toothpaste after drinking to help combat the stains you may have developed throughout the day.
Because alcohol eats away at your enamel, your teeth are at a higher risk for developing dental decay. Alcohol contains high levels of sugar, which can cause plaque and tartar to accumulate on your teeth and gums. Mixed drinks are especially high in sugar because they typically contain syrups and flavoring. When sugar interacts with saliva in your mouth, it creates a harmful bacteria that damages your tooth’s enamel. Enamel erosion is the most common symptom of excessive drinking, and you may not notice until your teeth have become severely damaged. Signs of dental decay and enamel erosion include sensitivity and persistent tooth pain. Make sure you are visiting our Boynton Beach dentist often to monitor any signs of dental decay. If not treated, decay can lead to more serious oral health issues like tooth loss or an infection.
Alcohol actually dehydrates your body, which can have an impact on your teeth and gums. Saliva helps to keep teeth clean and clear of any food debris you may accumulate throughout the day. Dehydration leaves your smile more vulnerable to dental decay and gum disease, and you may be at a higher risk for developing oral health issues. If you are drinking, try to drink water as well. Staying hydrated will help to combat the effects of alcohol in your body, including your smile.
People who drink in excess are at a higher risk for developing oral cancer. Oral cancer affects about 50,000 people every year, with alcohol abuse being the second largest risk factor right behind tobacco use. The best way to protect yourself from oral cancer is to avoid tobacco and alcohol, and try to live a healthy lifestyle. Talk to our Boynton Beach dentist for more information and to learn about your unique risk for oral cancer.