The use of alcoholic drinks contributes to 10% of global deaths in the age group from 15 to 49, according to a study. However, there is no direct correlation between diseases and alcohol usage. It is more like you are healthy because you drink, or you can drink because you are healthy enough. Thus, having these results do not really help us in understanding the cause and effect relationship between health and alcohol. Instead, we can learn how it affects our body in real-time.
In our previous article, we covered smoking and its destructive impact on oral health. Now, let's see how alcoholic drinks can damage our dental health.
Broken Teeth and Enamel Damage
Most of the times, we drink alcohol with ice or squeezed citruses. If you like ice, refrain from chewing the ice, is not an easy task, however, it can break your teeth, which is quite unpleasant.
As to citrus acids, they can be really eroding. Although limes, lemons or oranges give a fantastic taste to the beverage, they corrode your tooth enamel really bad. Apart from this, heavy drinkers might experience vomiting, which is terrible for their teeth because the environment in the stomach is highly acidic to degrade the food. So, when it comes to your mouth, acids can tear out the enamel, which is a protective shield.
While drinking might make us feel relaxed and “happy,” it distracts the natural distribution of fluids of the body. The chemical features of the alcohol do not let the kidney to absorb water. As a result, it turns to urine, and that causes dehydration of the body. That is the reason why alcohol usage results in a dry mouth.
Why is it bad? Generally, saliva flow flushes out food particles that irritate or deflect gums. Thus, when the process is distracted, there is a chance of getting gum disease, which can cause bad breath and is painful. During gum disease the gums get red and swollen change their shape, eventually, teeth get looser and may fall out.
There are many reasons for tooth discoloration, wine, beer, and other alcoholic drinks are several ones of them. The chromogens in their chemical structure contribute to teeth staining by entering the porous surfaces of the teeth. Apart from that, drinks are also acidic, the impacts of which we talked about in the previous paragraph.
After drinking alcoholic drinks with high chromagen levels such as red wine and beer, it is suggested keeping water next to you so that it rinses your mouth. However, these kinds of stains are removable, brushing twice a day will be enough, but you can also use some easy tips to whiten your teeth, simply by diet change.
Sensitive teeth can limit you from enjoying your favorite foods and drinks. As alcohol dehydrates our mouth, there is no saliva which contains bacteria that can fight against the acid. Thus, the acids in it degrade the tooth enamel making it vulnerable and sensitive. If you are drinking mixed alcoholic drinks, it is better to use plain soda rather than sugary drinks, and drink with a straw to minimize touch with your teeth. But don’t forget that plastic straws take hundreds of years to dissolve in the soil, so it’s advisable to use metallic, bamboo or other straws which will last longer or are reusable and recyclable. Another tip is to chew sugarless gum that will generate saliva.
Enjoy your time with family and friends but do not overuse alcohol. Remember, there is a moderate level of drinking that you should not cross. It is calculated by units and varies from country to country; in the UK, both men and women are not advised to drink more than 14 units of alcohol in a week. For example, one bottle of beer (330ml, ABV 5%) is 1,7 units, and a small glass of wine (125ml, ABV 12%) is 1,5 units.
Below you can see the chart of limitations around the world for men and women: