St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and you might soon be tempted to down a pint (or more) of green beer. Before you take your first swig, keep in mind that your frothy beverage might affect your pearly whites.
Tooth decay is a big problem related to alcohol consumption because of the sugars and acids in alcoholic drinks. When these sugars combine with natural bacteria in the mouth they form an acid that attacks enamel, breaking it down. This is especially true when the teeth are constantly exposed to sugars and starches in alcohol without a break.
But it is not just the sugar and starches in alcohol that can be harmful to teeth. Alcohol dries out your mouth just like smoking does. The dry tissue decreases saliva and saliva is a powerful tool in reducing the incidence of cavities. Dry mouth can also accelerate the damage caused by the sugar in alcohol.
For those heavy drinkers who plan on a weeklong St. Patrick’s Day bender, the probability of damage from drinking is much higher. Heavy drinking can cause:
- Irritation of the gum, tongue and oral tissues
- Poor healing after dental surgery
- Poor dental health habits
- Increase in tooth decay
- Increases risk toward periodontal (gum) disease
Heavy drinkers are also at greater risk of developing cancer in the mouth, throat and esophagus. Obviously, these are side effects that you want to avoid so if you are going out this week, take it easy on the hooch. And if you absolutely must partake in the St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans, drink some water in between the green beers and brush and floss your teeth as soon as possible. Your teeth will thank you.