Drinking alcohol over the festive period is second nature for many – however drinking alcohol in excess over this period can have a detrimental impact and can cause long-term damage, even if the effects aren’t immediately obvious.
Good dental hygiene routines can help control the effect, but whether you prefer champagne to wine or mixed drinks to beer, you should be aware that alcohol and teeth aren’t natural allies.
Below we outline alcohol’s effect on your pearly whites.
All alcoholic beverages contain some sugar, however many people forget to factor in what they drink when calculating daily sugar intake – the main cause of tooth decay.
Bacteria in your mouth lives on sugar, so sipping on sweet alcoholic drinks offers that bacteria plenty of fuel to thrive.
It’s also important to consider what you’re mixing your drinks with, as the carbonated drinks popular with spirits are often very high in sugar.
Most alcoholic drinks are extremely acidic, with sparkling beverages at least as acidic as orange juice.
As a rule, dry, sparkling wines are the worst of all alcoholic drinks, as the bubbles in them are caused by carbon dioxide, which is acidic.
You’d be better picking a less acidic, flat wine over prosecco or champagne.
As alcohol is a diuretic, it dries out your mouth. (It’s also responsible for all those trips to the bathroom!) In other words, it dehydrates you by making you urinate more than usual.
A dry mouth means there’s less salvia in your mouth and since it fights off bacteria, your risk of gum disease and tooth decay increases while you’re drinking.
Be sure to alternate alcohol with water to replenish saliva and keep your mouth cleansed.
When drinking a red wine, it’s fair to say your teeth will look less pearly white than before.
Opting for any alcoholic beverage with a deep hue will not only turn your teeth a shade of red, but will also cause long-lasting discoloration and overall dullness.
That’s due to the chromogens that give the drink its colour. These chromogens attach to the enamel of the tooth, which is already weakened from the acids in the alcohol. As a result, your teeth might get stained.
Have a wonderful Christmas season but remember your oral hygiene – don’t let the silly season ruin your teeth!