Alcohol Consumption And Your Oral Health

Reducing or moderating your alcohol intake will benefit your teeth and gums

Dental Specialist in Chelmsford, EssexBefore we get into the ‘meat’ of this blog, let us be clear; we are not suggesting to our readers that they should avoid consuming alcohol completely.

Although this might be the ideal for your oral health, the reality is that many of us do enjoy a drink when out for a meal or on other social occasions with family or friends.

While smoking should definitely be avoided altogether, drinking alcohol in moderation should do relatively little harm, especially if you ensure that you otherwise take good care of your teeth, with a sensible diet and good regular cleaning of the teeth and gums.

That said, it is still important that our Chelmsford patients avoid drinking too much alcohol, or too often. As you will see below, alcohol consumption can come with significant risks if not kept in moderation.

Oral Cancer

This is the most serious possible consequence of drinking too much alcohol, from a dental perspective. Although smoking is the number one cause for this increasing problem, excess alcohol consumption is also a significant contributor. Problems can include a painful mouth, sometimes with some swelling. Difficulty in swallowing food, weight loss and on some occasions, speech problems. Like other forms of cancer, it can also spread, potentially fatally so,  and you should seek any treatment as soon as possible.

Your regular check ups at Blue Sky Dental enable us to keep an eye on your overall oral health which also includes the soft tissues as well as the teeth and gums. If we recommend that you see your GP, please do so although it is quite possible that a potential sign that we have noticed may be completely unrelated but you should always see your GP to check.

Periodontal disease

As most people who drink will know, one side effect of ‘one too many’ is that it can lead to a dry mouth, especially in the morning when we wake up. Regular readers of our blog will know that this provides a great opportunity for bacteria to multiply and this can lead to gum disease. Although this can usually be treated as long as it hasn’t advanced too far, prevention is naturally preferable and helps to reduce the problems of periodontitis which can lead to loose teeth or even the loss of teeth.

Tooth decay

Most alcoholic drinks contain at least some sugar. The trend over recent years though has been a move away from the ‘bitters’ and ‘milds’ of days gone by and the rites of passage into drinking has been made much easier by the number of high sugar drinks on the market. It could be argued that this is a cynical ploy to encourage young people to start drinking but we’ll leave that to the politicians. The reality is that these high sugar drinks could be devastating for your teeth and tooth decay is just one of the problems that you might suffer from if you consume too many of these.

Poor healing

Alcohol (and smoking) can cause a delay in the healing of a ‘wound’, whether this be from a dental procedure or a cut from the gums. It does this by narrowing the tiny blood vessels in the gums and other oral soft tissues. This, in turn, slows down the blood flow which is necessary for prompt and speedy healing. While this may result in inconvenient slower healing times, it could also lead to complications from a wound that doesn’t heal properly.

Stained teeth and enamel erosion

Both red and white wine are acidic drinks, as are some others. While red wine is well known for staining teeth, white wine can also do so. This is largely due to the fact that acidic drinks can damage and erode the enamel of the teeth, leaving a rough surface on the tooth. This makes it easier for staining products to attach themselves to your teeth, leaving them looking discoloured.

Bad breath

Bad breath or halitosis is very unpleasant; largely for those around you.While the smell of alcohol on the breath can be off putting enough, halitosis is far worse and you may find that people are more reluctant to engage in conversation with you simply because they don’t want to get too close due to the offensive odour emanating from your mouth. This foul smell is, of course, one of the side effects of gum disease. If someone close to you tells you that your breath smells, don’t be offended and get your teeth and gums checked at our Chelmsford dental clinic as soon as you can.

Threat to dental implants

If you have dental implants, there is a chance that you might feel that because they are made from artificial materials, that no harm can come to them. While this is true of the implant itself, problems like peri-implantitis and periodontitis can degrade the bone surrounding the implant. If this happens, the implant may become loose and ultimately fall out. Whether you have teeth implants or not, the above advice still stands.

If you would like to arrange to have a consultation at Blue Sky Dental or would like any information about your dental care surrounding this topic or any othe, you can speak to our friendly team on 01245 211070.

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