The Effects of Alcohol on Your TeethHaving a drink is a fun way for us to relax. Sometimes it’s through partying, taking in the club lights as we dance the night away with a can of beer in our hand. Other times it’s a relaxing weekend night with a glass of wine as we catch up on our favorite shows on Netflix. Either way, we use alcoholic to loosen up after days of hard work. However, what other good benefits are there? Alcohol has many significant dangers that detriment our health. Alcohol, either consumed benign or heavily, can affect your body as a whole. While there are many proofs as to how alcohol affects your entire being, let’s focus on a key physical appearance it affects the most, your teeth.
Our teeth are very important. In a beauty study, experts concluded that the smile is the most important feature of a person, surpassing other physical features such as their eyes, hair and figure. That is why it’s obvious when the effects of alcohol stain your teeth.
Teeth staining is caused by the wear of your enamel due to the harsh acidity of beverages including alcohol. A main concern about our enamel is that once it’s gone, it’s gone. Enamel slowly wears down during your life, but with the intake of alcohol, it decreases your enamel’s timespan.
As your enamel wears down, the thick, calcified bulk of your teeth called dentin is uncovered, causing your teeth to look yellow and darker. Your teeth are very porous, meaning that your teeth are essentially sponges to any liquids you consume. High concentrated drinks like red wine or cocktails leave a noticeable pigment across your teeth which will leave stains if not treated correctly. Beer also leaves your pores a dark shade of brown, depending on the concentration of barley and malt it’s made of. Thanks to our enamel, our teeth may have a lively white smile for a lifetime, that’s what it’s for. However your enamel is like a marriage, cheat on it with alcohol and don’t be surprised when it leaves you for good.
Alongside staining comes the decaying of your teeth. Teeth decay is a huge factor as to why some people decide to live a life of sobriety. When you consume alcohol, the acidity of the drink starts eating away at your teeth and gum lines, making them prickly and sore.
Ever hear about those late night party-goers that end up on the sidewalk with vomit all over them? Not only is it a disgusting sight to see, even if you are a drunk friend taking a picture of them, but they face major effects of alcoholism and the results will lead to teeth decay.
Acid reflux is a huge player in this scenario. If your stomach isn’t agreeing with you and it results in throwing up, your stomach acid will crawl out of its system, burn up your esophagus, and make your mouth aflame as you heave out everything until you’re empty inside. Here’s why this is a very bad situation. Your stomach acid is meant to kill bacteria and break down enzymes of the food and drink you consume, and those aren’t the only substances it can. When your stomach acid fills your mouth, it ruins your uvula, your gums, and your teeth. The acid eats away at your gums and your enamel, filling your pores with putrid acid and will remain there until you flush it out. The longer you allow the acid to eat away inside your mouth, the higher chance you will develop cases of gingivitis, periodontal disease, tooth decay, or at best, teeth staining.
What Are We Doing Now?
Sadly, while we may be educated in this type of matter, most of us ignore the dangerous facts of alcohol on our oral health. “People don’t realize how much damage alcohol causes,“ says Dr. Cohen of One Stop Implants, “The fact is people know the after effects of alcohol mentally, but they don’t know what it’s doing to them physically. Oral health is a huge issue for us because we talk, eat, and use our smile as a portfolio for ourselves. Not having maintained oral hygiene has negative consequences in the short and long run.”
According to an ADA Dental Health Report, almost 75% of adults from ages 18-29 years old admit to not brushing their teeth after an alcohol-inspired night. What this means is that for at least 8 hours after consuming alcohol, our teeth is being eaten away that’s caused by the acid in our beverages.
We are neglecting the important parts of our lives, prioritizing fun over needs. Getting tipsy with friends may seem like a great idea, but in reality we should be stopping ourselves and understanding the negative outcomes of the situation.
What Can We Do?
There are many ways that we can prevent and spread knowledge of what alcohol is doing to our oral health.
It’s best off to start learning about the negative effects of alcohol at a young age. Adolescence is a time frame in which we explored different experiences, wanting to hit milestones such as taking our first shot or getting drunk with friends. Want to impress that classmate across the room from you? You certainly would get turned down if they see those dark stains on your teeth or the smell of beer on your breathe. Studying for that exam next week? Good luck remembering all the information with the dead memory signals alcohol kills.
As far fetched as it sounds, the ability for us to sober up and live alcohol free lives is the easiest and safest way for us to avoid alcohol’s negative consequences. Should you decide to live a life of sobriety, first contact your dentist. There is a high risk that your teeth may already have developed a level of tooth decay or have untreated cavities. Having those treated as soon as you can will get you on a path of healthy living and you’ll see the improvements in your oral hygiene. Schedule a teeth whitening with a licensed professional. Erase the memories and the marks of alcohol today by getting your teeth whitened and ready for a second chance.
While some of us can learn how to quit, sometimes alcohol is still a necessity or a want in life. Here are some helpful tips to minimize the damage that alcohol imposes.
Sip your drink through a straw, this directs the flow of the liquid into your mouth, minimizing contact with your gums and your teeth.
Rinse often when you drink, carrying a bottle of water around with you so you can flush your pores is a great way to prevent dark substances from having an overnight stay in your mouth.
Chew sugar-free gum. Not only is chewing a unique way to develop saliva, but salivation allows your body to self-cleanse your mouth, killing bacteria and sweeping away any substances left by alcohol.
Don’t brush or use mouthwash for at least an hour after drinking any alcohol. Your body is processing and controlling the influx of acid in your mouth already, brushing your teeth or swishing mouthwash will just make your enamel even softer as you’re adding more acid-based substances into the mix.
It may not be easy to quit or carry out these tips, but maybe others can. Keep your friends aware of how alcohol is affecting their oral health, together we can reach out to those who are hurting and work together to educate everyone about what alcohol does to your teeth and how to fight it. Are you already suffering the the effects of teeth decay and feel they are irreversible? Schedule a consultation with us today to see if you qualify to receive dental implant care.