Alcohol can promote disease
Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, by altering the microbiome in the mouth and affecting the entire body. By killing off helpful bacteria and promoting the growth of harmful bacteria associated with periodontal disease, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can unbalance the microbes associated with cancer and chronic disease.
It is estimated that heavy drinkers and smokers have 38 times the risk of developing oral cancer. In addition, excessive alcohol, especially mixed with carbonated beverages, can increase acid levels in the mouth. This can lead to tooth erosion.
Drinking wine, sangria and even beer more than once a week can also discolor your smile. Like green tea or coffee, these drinks have a lot of coloring agents that lodge in the natural ridges of your enamel, making them look yellow. While teeth whitening is a great solution, the results are only temporary, and will fade faster if you drink regularly.
Drinks like Coca Cola, which are often used as mixers, also stain them. As boring as it may seem to us, the best drink for our teeth, and for our overall health, is water.
There are many beverage options, beyond water, that can quickly corrode your enamel, predisposing you to cavities and gum disease. Our natural enamel, despite being the hardest substance in the human body, can dissolve rapidly when exposed to acidity.
Alcohol and citrus fruits are incredibly acidic and can quickly damage our teeth if we drink them repeatedly. Worse yet, if the alcohol we drink contains large amounts of coloring agents, they can get under weakened enamel and stain teeth more quickly. The most acidic drinks are wine and cocktails with lemon or lime.
Beware of sugary drinks
Sugar consumption can also play an important role in tooth decay and overall oral health. There are specific bacteria in the mouth that feed on sugar.
Impact on oral hygiene
Alcohol can also influence the care of your teeth. If you are prone to heavy drinking, you are more likely to skip oral hygiene at night. Every night that you don’t brush and floss, oral bacteria have more time to attack your teeth and gums. And because alcohol dries out your mouth, oral bacteria thrive on nights when you’ve been drinking. You’ll increase your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Drinking in moderation is fine, but it’s important to understand how drinking can affect your overall oral health. If it’s been a while since your last dental visit, it may be a good idea to make an appointment. And if you have any questions about drinking and how it affects your teeth, don’t hesitate to ask.