What Does Alcohol Do to Your Teeth?
By Lacey Batch
Alcohol is not healthy as it has both short and long-term effects on your health. This includes physiological, mental and emotional health. While a lot of people understand how it affects their organs, metabolism and circulatory system, very few people understand its effect on oral health.
A 2009 study in Dental Care and Oral Disease in Alcohol Dependent Persons found that people who have an alcohol use disorder tend to have increased plaque levels on their teeth. This often leads to tooth extraction, which explains why many alcohol users have permanent tooth loss.
Causes of Excess Alcohol
A lot of alcoholics often look for the best teeth whitening to help reduce the effect of the alcohol on their teeth. However, it is beyond just the staining. Alcohol use involves even deeper issues.
Excess Alcohol May Cause:
Staining is usually the first change noticed when you drink alcohol regularly. Most beverages are known to contain chromogens, a substance that adds color to the drink. These chromogens attach to the enamel of the tooth when you drink alcohol. As alcohol is acidic, your enamels are already weakened, thereby making the chromogens attach easily. You should also try to avoid mixing liquor with dark sodas due to the acidic reaction and also the risk of increased doses of sugars and chromogens. This worsens the staining.
Alcohol also dries the mouth, as it decreases the natural saliva that acts as the body’s antibacterial cleanser. Lack of natural saliva in the mouth makes the mouth dry, and there is an increased risk of bacteria and infection in the mouth. The risk of oral infection could promote gum disease and eventually, a permanent tooth loss.
Alcohol tampers with the absorption of water in the body, and this could cause dehydration and easy exposure to acid attack. It works by decreasing the body’s production of antidiuretic hormones, and as a result, the body is unable to reabsorb water. Dehydration can also result from consistent vomiting due to excess alcohol intake. Dehydration causes dry and sticky mouth, sleepiness, increased fatigue, increased thirst, dizziness or lightheadedness, headache, and decreased urination.
Myths About Alcohol in Regards to Oral Health
1: Beer Won’t Stain Your Teeth
Fact: Beer is acidic, which weakens your enamels and makes it easier for chromogens to attach to them. While you might have been advised to use a straw to reduce the risk, the truth is that the drink still touches your teeth.
- Adding Citrus Makes it Healthier for Your Teeth
Fact: Adding citrus to your alcoholic drink worsens its effect on your teeth and does not in any way make it healthier. Citrus is acidic and adding this to alcohol, which is also acidic, can completely damage your teeth in the long run. Citrus is also sweet and ingesting a high amount of sugar will only lead to tooth decay.
- Frequent Consumption Cleanses and Avoids Cavities
Fact: Frequent consumption will only worsen the state of your teeth and will not cleanse or help you avoid cavities. As the acid weakens your enamels, it allows more bacteria to attach to them. These bacteria will then eat up your enamel, thereby resulting in cavities, which can also lead to tooth decay.