Dental Tips for keeping your teeth healthy from Dentists at North Burnaby Dental Group.
For many people over the holidays they indulge in savoury meals, sugary treats and alcoholic beverages. While consuming them may be fun at the time, have you ever thought about whether or not alcohol can have a negative effect on your dental health?
While many of us do enjoy a drink or so from time to time, alcohol can have a negative effect on your teeth cosmetically as well as to your dental health. In chemistry alcohol is often used as a drying agent and when alcoholic beverages are consumed, they reduce saliva and with the reduction of saliva your mouth becomes dry. Saliva is a cleansing agent and one of the effects of having a dry mouth is that it can make tooth enamel erosion worse as well as contribute to bad breath.
In addition to alcohol reducing saliva in your mouth, beer, wine, liquor and mixed drinks often have high sugar content and or high acidity. These acids can both damage your enamel and cause tooth decay which can result in cavities. Red wines, which are often very acidic, can also stain your teeth. In addition to other known health issues, excessive alcohol consumption can cause cavities, gum deterioration, and tooth loss.
For those who drink in moderation though, what can be done to lessen the damage to our teeth after drinking alcohol and reduce the risk of staining? Rinsing your mouth out with water or even taking in a few sips of water after your alcoholic beverage will reduce the formation of teeth stains and keep a whiter smile. This will as well help cut down on the amount of plaque and acids that remain on your teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum after consuming your beverage will also help as it acts to increase your saliva flow, reducing dry mouth. Especially effective are gums containing xylitol, which has been shown to help reduce plaque and keep a neutral pH balance in your mouth, thus protecting your teeth from tooth decay.
When drinking red wine or mixed drinks with acidic juice such as pineapple, it’s best to wait 20-30 minutes before brushing as this is about how long it takes for saliva to re-mineralize the enamel that was softened by acid.
Lastly, no matter what you decide to drink, an alcoholic beverage or not, as part of a healthy oral routine it is important to brush and floss your teeth before going to bed.
If you have questions additional questions about alcohol and your teeth, talk to your dentist at North Burnaby Dental Group. Also, if you are concerned about staining from wine or other alcohol beverages, ask about our teeth whitening service. We have many options in dental work to help you regain and maintain your smile.