Alcohol Awareness and Dental Health From Your Lake Orion Dentist

April 2, 2012

Drinking alcohol impairs your mind and body, but it also negatively impacts your oral health. April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and Dr. Greenfield encourages you to be aware of the dental problems associated with alcohol consumption. Let’s determine how alcoholic beverages are destroying your smile.

Alcohol Decays and Erodes Your Teeth

Most alcoholic drinks—like beer, gin, rum, brandy, whiskey, and wine—are very concentrated in sugar. The bacteria in your mouth feed off these sugars and produce an acid that attacks your teeth. Furthermore, that tangy sensation you get from alcohol is caused by acid in the drink. Many mixed beverages also combine alcohol with soda or citrus juice, increasing the sugar and acid content. High sugar and acidity can increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and enamel erosion.

Alcohol Weakens your Gum Tissue

The acid in alcohol can burn or irritate the soft tissues in your mouth. Your gums, tongue, cheeks, and throat are all very delicate, and alcohol can corrode your tissues. When your gums become irritated, they weaken, swell, bleed, and are no longer able to support your teeth.

Alcohol Decreases Saliva Production

Alcohol decreases the amount of natural saliva in your mouth. Saliva helps fight bacteria, but when alcohol dries out your mouth, bacteria have the opportunity to grow and feed. Without enough moisture in your mouth to rinse away bacteria, you may experience bad breath, dry mouth, gum disease, and cavities.

Alcohol Increases your Risk of Oral Cancer

The World Health Organization reports that excessive alcohol consumption multiplies your risk of mouth, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast cancer. Alcohol can affect the way that tissue cells divide. Six alcoholic drinks a day can increase your risk of oral cancer by 3.3 times, and seven to nine drinks a day increases your risk 15 times. Dr. Greenfield offers a VELscope screening to detect oral cancer in its early stages.

After your glass of alcohol, you may be too tired or drunk to remember to brush, floss, and visit Dr. Greenfield. Neglecting dental hygiene will further deteriorate your smile. If you need an alcoholic beverage, drink it in moderation with a meal to help balance your mouth’s pH level. At your checkup appointment with Dr. Greenfield, your Lake Orion dentist will examine your mouth for signs of decay, periodontal disease, and oral cancer, and treat your conditions appropriately. Contact Lake Orion Family Dentistry at (248) 693-6213 to schedule an appointment. We welcome families from Lake Orion, Oxford, Rochester Hills, Clarkston, and other nearby areas.

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