You know that drinking too much isn’t good for your body, but drinking an excessive amount of alcohol is also bad news for your oral health. Having a drink every once in a while or even a few times a week isn’t a big deal, but daily consumption or abuse of alcohol can actually lead to gum disease and tooth loss. How does this happen?
Alcohol Irritates Mouth Tissues
The soft tissues in your mouth can become inflamed when exposed to alcohol repeatedly. Irritating your gum tissues can lead to inflammation, which over time can damage the roots of your teeth. The
components of alcohol (mainly acidic components and sugar) can also be very eroding to the enamel of your teeth, meaning you’re even more at risk for sensitive or painful teeth over time. In addition, alcohol dehydrates you, and these dehydrating effects take a big toll on your mouth. Our saliva protects our teeth and helps keep our oral bacteria balanced, but when drinking alcohol, the mouth becomes dry and is therefore a breeding ground for bad bacteria and plaque. If you are going to drink alcohol in moderate amounts, be sure to stay hydrated while doing so. Alcoholic drinks do not count towards your hydration fluids.
Poor Oral Health
People who drink alcohol excessively tend to neglect their oral health by not brushing and flossing
regularly in addition to not getting dental check-ups. This combination of practices can lead to buildup of plaque and bacteria over time from the dry mouth that alcohol creates as well as symptoms of tooth decay and gum disease. Frequent drinkers tend to not notice or ignore any symptoms they’re experiencing when it comes to their oral health, such as gums that are red and inflamed, bleeding, sensitive, or pulling back from their teeth. It’s important to get regular check-ups at your dentist so that your dentist can help you treat any symptoms you have before they get worse. Alcohol can be very harsh on the gums and can eventually lead to tooth loss because of gum disease, tooth decay, or cavities.
A Maintenance Routine Is Important
If your drinking habits are causing you to forget to brush once in while, this is not a big deal. If, however, this is happening regularly or several times a week, you’re giving bacteria and plaque time to build up on your teeth. Many people enjoy mixed drinks, which can be very high in sugar and damaging to the teeth. The combination of the sugar and alcohol can irritate your gums, damage your tooth enamel, and if left with enough time in an ideal environment such as a dry mouth, can wreak havoc on your teeth.
Nearly everyone has different ideas about what they consider abuse of alcohol to be. When it comes to your oral health, drinking alcohol can be considered abusive when it interferes with your oral health through gum disease or other problems with your mouth. Keep to a routine and remember to brush, floss, and visit your dentist regularly—your teeth depend on it.