The health benefits of alcohol are widely debated, but the specific effects of alcohol on your teeth are perhaps less so. Here, we round-up what regular consumption of alcoholic drinks may do to your oral health…
There are several alcoholic drinks that pose a real risk to the colour of your teeth. Which ones? A good rule to go by is how much you’d fret about staining if you spilt the drink in question over a tablecloth. Red wine would be worse than white wine and, in terms of staining alone, the same is true for your teeth! The more intense the colour, the greater the risk of staining.
The acidity within alcohol plays a large part in this. Acid temporarily softens your tooth enamel, making it easier for chromogens (components in food and drink that stain) to latch on to the teeth.
How to avoid this? As well as avoiding alcohol, you can do the following: use a straw where possible (we acknowledge that this isn’t always appropriate!), swallow promptly – hence lowering your exposure time to the staining agents in your alcoholic drink and finish with water to rinse your teeth.
Alcohol reduces the flow of saliva, which helps to keep bacteria levels in your mouth low and your teeth clean. The acidity mentioned above will also work away at the layers of your teeth, thinning them and making them more prone to decay. As the layers get thin, it will become easier for bacteria to eventually enter and infect the soft centre of your tooth.
The risk of mouth cancer is four times bigger in those who drink to excess compared to those who don’t. To cut your risk down, it is worth both sticking to the daily limits advised by the NHS and ensuring that you have some alcohol-free days each week.
If you are worried that drinking alcohol may have affected your teeth, give us a call on 01603 621613 or book an appointment online to discuss your options and treatment solutions.