How Alcohol Affects Your Mouth

How Alcohol Affects Your Mouth

Posted by ARDEN DENTAL CARE on May 14 2017, 11:19 AM

How Alcohol Affects Your Mouth

Humans have been drinking fermented beverages and alcohol for ages. And researchers have always been debating the advantages and disadvantages of drinking alcohol. However, whether mild, moderate, or heavy, drinking affects our oral health and increases the risk for tooth decay, gum disease, canker sores, and oral cancer.

What Happens to Your Oral Health When You Consume Alcohol?

Dries out the mouth

Saliva plays a crucial role in keeping our mouth hygienic and healthy. Saliva washes away the toxic acids produced by plaque and thus helps keep our mouth clean. But when you consume alcohol, the saliva production slows down, leading to dehydration and plaque build-up.

Stains the teeth

Colored drinks like red wine and sangria can stain the teeth and cause long-lasting teeth discoloration and overall dullness. Hence, if you are drinking a glass of red wine or any other drinks with deep hues, chew some gum or eat some food. This will increase the saliva flow and help remove any unwanted dental stains and fight cavities.

Sugar Content

Sugar intake is always recognized as one of the major risk factors that cause tooth decay. The bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugar, so sipping on alcohol and sweet beverages can increase the chance of getting cavities. Besides, soft drinks used in cocktailscan erode the teeth. When the sugars from the cocktails and the bacteria in the mouth combine, harmful acids can form that attack the tooth enamel and lead to cavities. Heavy drinkers can also experience gastric regurgitation as vomiting, which can erode the enamel because of its high acidity. 

Periodontal (gum) disease

Heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of periodontitis. This occurs due to the loss of gum attachment to the tooth and the jawbones, thus weakening the tooth support. This can expose the tooth structure making the teeth more sensitive to temperature change.

Oral cancers

Alcohol abuse can increase the risk of oral cancer. When alcohol dehydrates the cell walls of the oral tissues, the carcinogens can easily permeate the tissues, resulting in the development of oral cancer.

Clenching and habitual grinding

When a person comes under the influence of alcohol, he may tend to overlook inhibitions. As a result, he may vigorously express anger and emotions by tightly clenching the teeth or grinding them. This can cause minor tooth fractures and cracks. 

The key to preventing the adverse effects of alcohol is to consume it in moderation. Besides, take-home care measures to keep your body and mouth healthy. In short, alcohol and teeth are adversaries, but with a little extra attention, you can ensure that the merrymaking doesn't negatively affect your teeth. 


For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michael Boyce, call us today at 916-481-2001.

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