How Alcohol Abuse Affects Your Oral Health
Alcoholic beverages may be considered healthy, but it can turn into a complete downfall when one loses control over it.
Just like any other addiction, excessive alcohol consumption will not only lead to serious intestinal, blood, and brain problems but will also damage your oral health.
While adults are highly susceptible to alcohol addiction, teens, through peers and social pressure, have the same stakes to alcohol abuse and other kinds of addiction. As parents, it’s important to let them try things on their own, but always remember to reinforce proper moderation.
Prevention is better than cure. Don’t wait until you need dental cosmetics to restore damaged teeth and mouth just because you failed to take care of them. Here’s to better understand how alcohol affects oral health.
It stains the teeth
Heavy alcohol drinkers can say goodbye to their pearly whites. Chromogens produces the color in alcoholic drinks. Once these chromogens touch your teeth enamel with the acidic properties of alcohol, staining can be expected.
Red wine and other dark-colored beverages mixed with alcohol also have higher chances or staining the teeth. Sugar content in these drinks also attracts cavity build-up, especially if oral hygiene is not observed.
When beer is a lot more colorless and non-sugary than wine, its acidity can still stain the teeth. Excessive acid from a beer can eat away the tooth enamel, exposing darker-colored dentin underneath the tooth’s surface. Enamel erosion can also lead to tooth sensitivity and other problems.
Triggers a dry mouth
Ever had that feeling of craving for water after a night of drinking and partying? Getting dehydrated after alcohol intake is one of the leading causes of oral problems. Xerostomia or dry mouth results from excessive alcohol intake.
Unfortunately, if you’re under the influence of alcohol, it’s hard to listen to your body. Some wouldn’t even realize they’re thirsty for water and end up drinking more alcohol. Alcoholic beverages work as a diuretic, which triggers kidneys not to function normally by not absorbing water while flushing all the water out of your system through urination.
Dry mouth is also experienced by heavy alcohol drinkers that are in alcohol withdrawal. This happens because their body has fully adapted alcohol that it begins to look for it in their system. Alcohol abuse, like any other type of addiction, should be dealt with the right rehabilitation program, especially among teens.
If not prevented, dry mouth can also lead to serious gum diseases and bad breath. Since saliva is not produced well because of the decrease in body fluids, bacteria tend to get stuck inside your mouth, aggravating the gums.
Causes chipped teeth
While acids usually are part of the content of alcoholic beverages that can damage and chip the teeth, tradition, and culture of drinking alcohol makes it worse.
Squeezing lemon or other citrus fruits in your drinks increases acidic properties in your beverage. Acids strip off enamel from teeth, causing discoloration, and in worst cases, causing your pearly whites to get heavily damaged. Likewise, frequent vomiting brings acid into the mouth, trapping it in the teeth.
Other insensible social practices while drinking must also be avoided. For example, biting into ice cubes not only damages your teeth but also makes your mouth highly sensitive to pain. Some people also find it amusing to open beer bottles with their teeth. These socially fun practices can easily turn into your worst teeth nightmares.
Can lead to oral cancer
Cancers may be acquired from unidentified causes, but why risk your oral health with something you can control?
Alcohol abuse can lead to oral cancer and other types of cancer if not treated soon. It is listed as the second most common cause of oral cancer, from a study conducted by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC).
When you feel lumps and sores inside your mouth that seem to stay longer than it used to, schedule a trip to your dentist right away. Oral cancer can be fatal if not treated early.
Protect oral health with proper hygiene
Drinking occasionally shouldn’t be a problem when you know how to observe proper oral hygiene. After a night of heavy drinking, it is important to:
Increase water intake
This will aid dehydration and helps the body gain its natural fluids. Better yet, bring your water with by the side of the bed as you sleep in case you’re too drunk to get up and drink water now and then.
With water back into your system, your mouth can produce more saliva that will help minimize the formation of bacteria and plaque inside your mouth.
Complete your oral hygiene
If you’re in a drunken state, going through your nightly routine can be too much. But no matter how lazy you feel, do your best to observe proper oral hygiene.
Brush your teeth, floss, and rinse bacteria off with an antiseptic mouthwash– you’ll reap the rewards in the long run.
Visit your dentist regularly
For serious oral health damages, especially for heavy alcohol drinkers, normal hygiene may not be enough if you want to restore your oral health.
If you have chipped and discolored teeth, it’s advisable to undergo cosmetic dentistry procedures and services. Request your dentist so he or she can find you the best dental cosmetics needed to restore your oral health.
Health is wealth. While it’s necessary to enjoy life as it happens with a few good friends and a couple of drinks, make sure you’re not putting a toll on your health.
Alcohol abuse and addiction can happen at any age and can strike teens and adults alike. What’s important is knowing how and when to set boundaries for your self-care.
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