February 1, 2021
Studies show that a glass of red wine can benefit heart health and alcohol-based mouthwash is effective at fighting oral bacteria. But what effects can alcohol have on your oral health? Keep reading to learn what problems alcohol can cause and how to avoid them.
Alcoholic Beverages and Your Oral Health
Excessive alcohol consumption can pose a serious threat to your gum health. Studies have found that it can slow the flow of blood to your gums, minimizing their ability to fight off infection. This increases your risk of gum disease, mouth sores and even tooth decay. If you already have gum disease, alcohol can accelerate your condition. When it comes to teeth, alcoholic beverages can increase your risk of enamel erosion and tooth decay. In addition to these problems, beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages can also cause dental staining.
Alcohol Mouthwashes and Your Oral Health
While there are many alcohol-based mouthwashes available on the market today, being merchandised in the dental care aisle doesn’t mean it is good for your dental health. Typically, the directions on the back of the bottles recommend swishing the liquid around in your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds, but this can be very damaging to your teeth and gums. These mouth rinses can limit saliva production and cause dry mouth, putting you at higher risk of developing gum disease. Some have even developed a dependency on alcohol-based mouth rinse.
Additional Risks of Alcohol Products
According to the CDC, frequent alcohol consumption is the second most common cause of oral cancer. Alcohol is corrosive, so when oral bacteria in the mouth break it down, it creates cancer-causing chemicals that can damage the delicate tissues in your mouth. Oral cancer can form on your tongue, lips, cheeks gums and even along your soft palate.
Alcohol and Preventive Care
There are ways to protect your mouth from oral health issues. If you prefer to keep alcohol in your diet, drinking in moderation and practicing a proper dental care routine are crucial to protecting your mouth. Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, floss regularly and visit the dentist every six months. It’s also a good idea to avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes.
The amount of alcohol that one consumes is definitely a personal choice, but one study found that those who drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages per day may be exposing their mouths to more harmful bacteria than nondrinkers.
About the Author
At Oshins of Smiles, Dr. Steven Oshins is dedicated to providing every patient who enters his office with personalized, comprehensive dental care. He received his dental degree from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine and completed a two-year residency at Ellis Medicine in Guilderland, NY. In order to make sure that his patients receive the most modern and effective treatments, Dr. Oshins has pursued multiple post-graduate programs and attends continuing education courses. If you have questions about your current oral health, contact the office at (518) 356-5635 or visit the website to schedule an appointment today.
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