Nearly a quarter of all U.S. adults 18 and older have engaged in one or more nights of excessive drinking this past year. Excessive drinking is defined as five or more drinks for men, and four or more drinks for women. While some may only see this as a concern for your overall health, at my Spokane dental office, we’d like to explain how it can also be detrimental to your oral health.
Why Is Alcohol Dangerous?
Alcohol is naturally drying, and that’s bad news for your mouth. The mouth needs saliva to stay healthy. Without it, dangerous bacteria can linger around and cause problems. Alcohol is also acidic, and acid causes enamel to soften and makes them more susceptible to attacks.
What Could Happen
If someone abuses alcohol, it could result in several dental problems. While some are much more serious than others, they can all lead to extensive dental damage and even whole-body concerns. Some of these problems include:
- Tooth Decay
- Gum Disease
- Chronic Bad Breath
- Oral, Throat, and Esophagus Cancer
Reduce Your Risk
There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of alcohol-induced oral health problems. Follow these tips to help protect your smile.
- It’s All About Moderation. The best way to avoid oral health complications from excessive alcohol consumption is to limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Not only can drinking in moderation protect your mouth, it can protect your whole body.
- Brush & Floss. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once will help fight off the damaging effects of alcohol. Additionally, brushing 20 minutes post-alcohol consumption may decrease the chance of alcohol-induced complications.
- Keep Your Dental Appointments. Regular visits to your dentist in Spokane aren’t just about getting a deep cleaning and checking for cavities. Appointments at least every six months can catch any problems early, and early detection is key. In fact, sometimes your dentist may be the first to suspect an alcohol addiction by what’s seen in your mouth.
At my dental office in Spokane, we care about our patients’ overall health, not just their oral health. If you suspect you may have an addiction to alcohol, we encourage you to seek counseling. And if it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, we’d love to see you.