Limit Your Alcohol Intake


‘Tis the season for egg nog, Brandy Alexanders and glog! If you choose to imbibe, try to drink water alongside your drinks. And remember: Too much alcohol can dry out your mouth.

Alcohol Abuse Doesn’t Just Mean More Cavities

Pure alcohol on its own will not damage one’s teeth. However, most people don’t drink pure alcohol. Beer, liquor and mixed drinks have high sugar content and high acidity, breaking down the enamel that protects your teeth. This can lead to cavities, long term tooth decay and increase the risk of periodontal disease.

People that suffer from alcohol abuse may also forget to brush their teeth. While once in a while forgetting to brush isn’t the end of the world, poor dental hygiene can have long-term repercussions. Besides increasing the risk of cavities, poor oral hygiene can increase the risk of infection or abscesses in the mouth, which can be uncomfortable and dangerous if left untreated.

Alcohol abuse can also damage the soft tissue in the mouth. The alcohol itself is corrosive to the delicate tissue of the gums, increasing the risk of gum disease. Gum disease causes the gum tissue to erode from the tooth, creating a situation where the teeth are no longer properly protected or supported.

From there, the increase in bacteria, a result of poor oral hygiene can attack the gum tissue or the tooth at its root, increasing the risk for tooth decay and even tooth loss.

Other Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Your Teeth

Alcohol abuse also decreases the natural saliva in the mouth, which normally acts as the body’s natural antibacterial cleanser.  Saliva helps wash away plaque, bacteria and even sugar to help keep the teeth and gums healthy and disease free.

Without natural saliva, the mouth becomes dry, making it easier for bacteria and infection to stay in the mouth. Unfortunately studies have also shown that people who suffer from alcohol abuse are at higher risk for mouth and throat cancer as a result of the tissue damage and bacterial build up.

Seeing Dr. Katie Bell may not be the first thing you want to do when you get sober, but it is important to remember that oral hygiene is a part of your overall health.  Taking care of your physical body means taking care of all of your body’s functions and systems, including your teeth, gums and overall oral health, so don’t skip your next Bell Dental, PA visit.