As the holiday season comes to an end and we prepare ourselves for football playoffs and Valentine’s Day, it’s common for people to shop, eat, and even drink more than they would during the rest of the year. While most people realize the negative effects excessive shopping can have on their wallets and eating can have on their waist lines, they may not realize how alcohol consumption can have long-term negative effects on their oral health.
Beer, liquor and mixed drinks have high sugar and acidity content, which can lead to the breakdown of the enamel that protects your teeth over time. This can ultimately lead to cavities, long-term tooth decay and increase the risk of periodontal disease and oral cancer. Alcohol can also leave you dehydrated, which decreases the saliva that helps your mouth naturally cleanse itself of plaque, bacteria and sugar.
This doesn’t mean you should abstain from drinking altogether, but take the proper precautions when you do:
- Drink plenty of water to help your mouth stay hydrated and wash away sugar that can lead to infection and decay.
- Brush your teeth before going to sleep to cleanse your mouth and protect it from sugars that have accumulated on the tooth surfaces during the day contributing to the breakdown of the enamel.
- Know your limit and do not drink in excess.
For more information about the effects alcohol can have on your overall oral health care, please visit the American Dental Association.