New Year's Celebration – Drinking Harmful for your Health

Posted on December 31, 2013 in General oral health

New Year's Eve is tonight and you might be tempted to down a pint (or more) of beer before the celebration. 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 New Year 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 must partake in the New Year's shenanigans, brush and floss your teeth as soon as possible. Your teeth will thank you.