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Alcohol and Oral Health - Why a Dry January can be good for your Teeth.

Updated: Dec 18, 2018


For those of you who took the plunge and took part in Dry January –Well done! You only have one more day to go! Keep up the good work and we hope you are feeling the health benefits from doing so!

Did you know however, some of the damage that alcohol can actually do to your teeth and gums?

  • Alcoholic drinks can be both acidic and sugary, especially if mixed with soft drinks.

  • This can cause acid erosion on tooth enamel (the hard protective layer on your teeth) – leading to tooth decay.

  • Alcohol is also dehydrating and reduces saliva flow, lessening its ability to neutralise harmful acids in the mouth, and speeding up plaque formation leading to tooth decay.

  • Combat this by drinking a glass of water between alcoholic drinks to stay hydrated.

  • Keep track of how much you drink and make sure you’re not exceeding the daily unit guidelines

  • 2-3 units per day for a woman, 3-4 units per day for a man

  • Alcohol can be a major irritant to the gums, tongue or oral tissues.

  • If you have sensitive teeth or gum disease, your dentist may advise you stay away from mouthwashes that contain alcohol.

  • Many mouthwashes do contain a small amount of alcohol to help with the antibacterial and cleansing action, which are perfectly fine in many cases. Your dentist will help advise wish is best for you.

  • Whenever possible, drink acidic alcoholic drinks through a straw.

  • This limits the amount of contact the alcohol actually has with your teeth and gums, thereby limiting the damage it will do.

Drinking to excess can also increase the risk of mouth cancer by four times. If you smoke as well as drink regularly, the risk of getting the disease soars to over 30 times more likely. You may be thinking "I don't drink to excess" but simply a mature adult who "just likes a couple of glasses of wine of an evening". Unfortunately, research has shown there are increasingly negative dental and general health impacts of this pattern of behaviour amongst older adults, including an increasing number of cases of periodontal disease (gum disease) and even chronic liver disease.

And what about the morning after the night before?? After a big night out you are more likely to crave sugary foods, which if regularly consumed, increase the risk of tooth decay. Instead, a healthy breakfast will do you and your teeth the world of good!

For further information or advice contact College Street Dental Centre in Petersfield, Hampshire on 01730 263180


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