St. Patrick's Day Celebrations Can Harm Your Teeth

Posted on March 14, 2013 in General oral health

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner and you might soon be tempted to imbibe in a pint of green beer. Before you take your first swig, keep in mind the trouble you might cause in your mouth.

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 salivia is a powerful tool in reducing the incidence of cavities. Dry mouth can accelerate the damage caused by the sugar in alcohol.

So be warned. If you are going to partake in St. Patrick's Day shenanigans, brush and floss your teeth as soon as possible. Until then, drink plenty of water (it will help with post St. Patrick's Day dextox too).

For those that are heavy drinkers and 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. Your teeth will thank you.