Do you know what is bad for your teeth? Most of us will list sugary drinks, sweets and not brushing them – but less often we’ll talk about what a glass of wine might be doing to our oral health. An estimated 84% of people in the UK have not thought about the effects of alcohol on their teeth, but the advice from the experts is that it is not something to ignore…
What negative effects does alcohol have on oral health?
Drinking alcohol poses several risks to your dental health. Firstly, most alcohol has a high sugar content – something most people recognise as being unfriendly to teeth. When the sugar is broken down, it creates an acidic ambience which is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and plaque, the key culprits in tooth decay. A secondary effect of alcohol is that drinking too much of it can lead to dehydration and a dry mouth; a healthy mouth requires saliva and its anti-bacterial properties to fight acid, thereby keeping decay and erosion at bay. Also of concern is the link between alcohol and an increased risk of mouth cancer. Whichever expert you see at our central London specialist dental practice, you will be checked for early signs of mouth cancer as a matter of routine.
What can I do to minimise the risks?
The advice is not to cut out alcohol but to be more aware of its influence. You can make informed choices, opting for drinks which have a lower sugar content: avoid mixers such as cola or energy drinks and white wine is more acidic than red, especially if it is sparkling. Other tips include drinking from a straw, diluting your spirits with ice and regularly rinsing your mouth with water. At our specialist dental practice, we discuss lifestyle factors with all our London patients, and offer advice on how best they can maintain the wellbeing of their teeth.