You know consuming alcohol regularly can lead to liver disease and other health issues; however, there’s also contradictory research featuring the benefits of enjoying an occasional adult beverage. Particularly, red wine offers many known advantages, like aiding weight loss and the cardiovascular system. With a mix of information flooding the internet, it can be difficult to know the facts about alcohol and your oral health. Although the occasional drink can promote your health, your smile may not appreciate it as much. Your dentist in Columbia has the facts you need about many common myths you might have heard.
Myth #1: Alcoholic drinks keep you hydrated.
Fact: You need to stay hydrated throughout the day, but you can’t drink just anything. Despite what you might have heard, alcoholic drinks will not keep you hydrated. As a result, it can easily lead to dry mouth. Dehydration can cause your saliva production to decrease, creating the ideal breeding ground for harmful oral bacteria. Not only will this increase your risk of bad breath, but also tooth decay and gum disease.
Myth #2: Beer won’t stain your teeth.
Fact: It’s true dark beverages will stain your teeth, like mixed berry cocktails or red wine, but lighter drinks can also tarnish your smile. Although beer and lighter alcoholic drinks don’t have dark pigmentation, they are acidic. They can slowly erode your enamel, causing more of your yellowish dentin to be visible. Chromogens, which give beverages their color, also cling to your weakened enamel, which can stain your teeth.
Myth #3: Alcohol doesn’t affect oral health.
Fact: Besides cavities and gum disease, oral cancer is just as threatening to your smile. You might not believe you have anything to worry about because you don’t smoke, but research shows alcohol abuse is the second most common risk factor. Not to mention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports alcohol dependency causes higher plaque levels on the teeth. It also increases the risk of tooth loss by 3 times.
Myth #4: Alcohol can prevent cavities.
Fact: Tooth decay is caused by bacteria, so it’s natural to assume the antibacterial properties in alcohol will kill the harmful pathogens to prevent cavities, but this isn’t the case. Alcoholic drinks are very acidic, which will soften your enamel. As previously mentioned, they also cause your mouth to dry out, increasing oral bacteria growth. In addition, many drinks contain sugars, which also contribute to tooth decay.
You can still enjoy an occasional drink and protect your smile by taking a few precautions, like drinking it all at once instead of sipping it. It’s also best to rinse your mouth with water to remove any residue until you can get to your toothbrush.
About Dr. Philip Batson
Dr. Batson earned his dental degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. Due to his qualifications and experience, he is a member of various professional organizations, including the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. He strives to create healthy smiles that last. If you need an appointment, contact our office today.