Although moderately taking alcohol is good for the health, alcohol is not totally healthy, especially excessive alcohol intake. Excessive alcohol intake is harmful to health and can cause various health issues. It can cause quite a number of significant diseases and health issues. Health issues like cirrhosis of the liver, kidney failure, etc., can result from taking alcohol excessively.
People are more familiar with the effects of excessive alcohol intake on the body. However, many people do not know the adverse effect of excessive alcohol intake on the teeth.
Dental issues that arise from too much alcohol intake include but is not limited to;
- Tooth decay
- Gum diseases
- Mouth ulcers
Research has also shown that on the list of factors that cause oral cancer, alcohol abuse is the second on the list.
Here, the issues that arise from excessively taking alcohol shall be discussed.
It is common knowledge that excessive sugar intake is a significant factor that causes tooth decay. This is because oral bacteria feed off sugar. Alcoholic drinks mostly have high sugar content and are highly acidic.
Taking too much alcohol allows bacteria in the mouth to build up and makes saliva in the mouth dry up. This will lead to tooth decay.
Drinks with high alcohol contents allow the mouth to dry quickly.
One of the functions of saliva in the mouth is to keep the teeth moist. It removes bacteria and plaque from the teeth, which lowers the risks of tooth decay and gum diseases.
Once alcohol is taken in excess, it makes saliva and the mouth dry. This, in turn, allows the build-up of bacteria and can cause tooth decay.
Dark-colored drinks, especially those that have high tannin content. Some alcohol also has chromogens that stick to the enamel of the teeth. Alcohol weakens the enamel of the teeth and also stains the teeth.
Some stains caused by alcohol can be temporary, while others can be permanent.
You can prevent these stains by taking water to rinse your mouth between drinks.
Although minimal consumption of alcohol cannot wreak significant damage on your gum. Research has shown that excessive drinking can impact your oral health and cause several gum diseases. Excessive intake of alcohol influences the growth of microbes in the mouth. This will cause bacteria to accumulate in the mouth. Excessive microbes and unhealthy bacteria in the mouth can impact the gum negatively. It can also cause gum diseases, and cause the development of gingivitis.
Alcohol and Oral Cancer
Research has shown that excessive alcohol intake is a major risk factor for diseases and can cause significant health issues.
Research has linked alcohol to four different types of oral cancer. The oral cancers include cancer of the larynx, the esophagus, the pharynx, and the lip and oral cavity.
Oral cancer has been found to be one of the top ten cancers in the world. Oral cancer can be quite severe if not detected and treated early.
Alcohol causes irritation in the throat and the mouth. This damages some cells in the mouth and throat. The body naturally will want to repair the damaged cells. In the process of cell repair, the DNA of the cells in a repair might change, leading to oral cancer.
Alcohol also makes it easy for other toxic substances to enter the upper part of the digestive tract. The upper part of the digestive tract includes the mouth/buccal cavity, larynx, pharynx, esophagus. This is why some cancer societies have concluded that this might be the reason why statistics have shown that people that drink and smoke have a higher chance of having mouth cancers.
Drinks that Have Minimal Effects on The Teeth
Though there is nothing like a healthy alcoholic drink. Some drinks still have relatively low effects compared to some. Some of these drinks are;
- Gin and tonic:
These drinks though alcoholic, have a clear look. These drinks are clear, so they can not stain the teeth. Gin and tonic also have a low level of acidity and will not wear down the enamel of the teeth.
- Brut Champagne:
Brut champagne is an alcoholic drink with a low level of sugar. This drink is a little bit dry in nature compared to other alcoholic drinks. This property makes it less harmful to the mouth.
- Light beer:
This type of beer has high water content, and this makes the level of acidity low. The low acid level will reduce the negative impact that the alcohol will have on the teeth. You can also choose a beer that is light-colored to avoid staining your teeth.
How to prevent or minimize the effect of alcohol on your teeth
It is not advisable to take excessive alcohol not only because of the effect on the teeth but also the effect on the systems in the body. But in case you find yourself occasionally indulging in alcohol, and you need to be able to reduce the effects of alcohol on your teeth. You can use the following tips to keep your teeth healthy while still enjoying yourself and indulging in alcohol.
- Take water in between your alcohol intake. Swish the water in your mouth to cleanse your mouth of sugar.
- You can take the alcohol with straws to avoid contact with the teeth.
- Pay extra attention to your oral health. Carefully brush your teeth and floss as much as needed.
- Also, do well to visit your dentist for regular check-ups.
It is normal to want to enjoy and sometimes indulge in a bottle or two of alcohol, but things are best enjoyed when done in moderation. Ensure you do not overindulge in alcohol and also take note of the kinds of alcoholic drinks you take so as to reduce the negative impact alcohol can have on your teeth. Make sure to put in the effort and be conscious enough to have and maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Also, make sure to regularly consult your dentist.