With holiday parties fast-approaching, you’ll likely be enjoying a few drinks this month. While there is no such thing as a “safe” alcoholic beverage when it comes to your oral health, there are a few things you can do to keep your teeth and gums in good condition. To lessen the effects of alcohol on your oral health, follow these five easy steps!
1. Drink in moderation.
We would be remiss if we did not first strongly advise our patients to drink in moderation, as heavy drinking has been linked to a number of oral health issues. For starters, alcohol abuse is the second highest indicator of your risk for oral cancer. Heavy drinkers also have an increased risk of gum disease, which can lead to serious health issues like respiratory illness, heart disease, stroke, and more. Drinking too much can also lead to tooth decay (particularly if it results in vomiting) and canker sores. Therefore, the CDC recommends that women drink no more than one alcoholic beverage per day, and men drink no more than two alcoholic beverages per day.
2. Stick to drinks with low sugar content.
To protect your teeth from tooth decay, it is best to avoid alcoholic beverages with a high sugar content. This is because the bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars in these beverages and release harmful acids onto your dental enamel. Therefore, you may want to stick to drinks like light beer and gin and tonic which have low acidity level. Brut champagne also has a low sugar content. By avoiding sugary drinks, you can better avoid the harmful effects of alcohol on your teeth.
3. Drink light-colored alcoholic beverages through a straw.
One of the more commonly known side effects of drinking alcohol is the staining effects on your teeth. This is because alcoholic beverages contain chromogens that give the drink its darker tint. These chromogens get trapped in the microscopic nooks and crannies on the surface of your teeth, leaving a stain and making your teeth look duller. Therefore, to avoid stains on your teeth, we recommend drinking colorless drinks (like gin and tonic) through a straw. This will keep the liquid off your teeth and keep staining effects to a minimum.
4. Drink plenty of water as well.
Drinking alcohol is known to cause dehydration, which can actually be quite harmful to your oral health. Dehydration leads to dry mouth—a condition that results from decreased saliva production—which can increase your risk of tooth decay. To combat these effects, we recommend drinking water between sips of your alcoholic beverage. You might also consider chewing on sugar-free gum to help boost your saliva production.
5. Maintain a solid dental hygiene routine.
Finally, it is even more important to maintain your dental hygiene routine when you’ve been drinking. This can help to combat the staining effects and risk of tooth decay that is inevitable when you imbibe. One of the best ways to guarantee that you remain in good oral health, however, is to visit your dentist every six months. Your dentist will check to make sure you don’t have signs of tooth decay or gingivitis, and you’ll also receive a professional cleaning!
To schedule your post-holiday check-up at the dentist, call TruBlu Dentistry in Burbank, Chicago, or Hegewisch today!