Everyone knows that excessive alcohol consumption can damage your physical health, affecting the function of the liver, kidneys, pancreas and brain. However, you may not be aware of the impact excessive drinking can have on your dental health. Below is a guide to 3 ways drinking too much alcohol can damage your teeth and mouth.
Because alcohol is a diuretic, it makes you expel much more fluid than you take in. For every 1g of alcohol consumed you will expel 10ml of urine. The diuretic effect causes your body to become dehydrated, which is why you may wake up with a headache and an extremely dry mouth the morning after a heavy night of drinking. Having a dry mouth is extremely bad for your dental health. This is because saliva plays an important role by remineralising your teeth and washing away debris and plaque from the surface of your teeth. A lack of saliva also creates the perfect environment for bacteria to attack your teeth. The best way to stay hydrated is to alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
An unpleasant side effect of excessive drinking is the urge to vomit. The content of your stomach is acidic. When you vomit, your stomach acid comes into contact with your teeth and starts to erode the enamel from the surface. Enamel is the hard layer which protects the sensitive inner pulp of the tooth. As the enamel is worn away, you may notice that your teeth become more sensitive to hot and cold food and drink.
Although you may want to brush your teeth as soon as you have vomited, this is not a good idea. The acid from your stomach will have softened the enamel on your teeth so brushing right away could cause more damage. To avoid this, you should rinse your mouth out with water immediately after vomiting and then wait a little while before you brush your teeth.
A large number of alcoholic drinks contain high levels of sugar. Depending on the type of drink, you may not even taste the sugar in the alcohol. If you frequently drink alcohol, you may be exposing your teeth to a lot of sugar. Sugar is a food source for oral bacteria. When these bacteria feed on sugar, they produce acids which cause tooth decay. Drinking the occasional glass of water while drinking alcohol will help to rinse the sugar from your mouth.
If you have any concerns about the effect alcohol is having on your dental health, book an appointment with a dentist today.