You already know that alcohol can adversely affect your body’s health, but what about that of your mouth? Did the drinks you had on New Year’s Eve wreck your oral health? The answer is… possibly. Keep reading to find out why alcoholic drinks are not easy on your teeth and gums.
Alcohol Problem #1: Sugar
Sugar demineralizes and weakens tooth enamel, leaving teeth sensitive and gums susceptible to periodontal disease. Drinks mixed with fruit juices or sodas are the worst perpetrators; they contain high sugar levels to counter the bitterness of the alcohol. Wine is a little better. A 6oz glass of chardonnay contains 4 grams of sugar, and the same amount of pinot noir contains just 2. Beer and distilled liquor are the winners in this category, as they have zero grams of sugar. (Just be sure not to mix the liquor with anything — even an 8 oz drink of tonic water and gin results in a whopping 27 g of sugar.)
Alcohol Problem #2: Acid
Acid accelerates tooth decay, and all types of alcohol — beer, wine, liquor — contain high acid levels. The acid level gets worse when drinks are combined with fruit juices or sodas. Another problem with acidic drinks is that they upset your body’s pH balance. Studies show maintaining a proper pH level is helpful in fighting off cavities and gum disease. A normal pH level is 7.4 (on a scale 1-14, with 1 being the most acidic). Remember, all alcohol is acidic in nature, so while you sip the drink, your body is fighting to achieve balance.
When it comes to drinking alcohol, make choices that will make your mouth happy — or at least not miserable. Drink plenty of water while sipping drinks, as it will rinse your mouth and keep you hydrated. Chew sugarless gum to encourage saliva production—saliva acts as a natural rinse for your teeth, plus it will improve your breath. Try to choose less sugary drinks and of course, enjoy in moderation.
Contact us at A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe to make your first dental appointment of 2013. Dr. Jue and his team are offering a special to new patients: receive an X-ray, exam and cleaning all for just $99. Call us today. Our number is (281) 549-5177.