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Can Alcohol Damage your Teeth? The Answer might Worry You

can alcohol damage my teethPoway and Rancho Bernardo, CA

Whether you are going off to college, unwinding after a stressful day, or going out to have a good time with friends, libations may be in your near future. After all, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere! Many Americans of legal age are casual drinkers, drinking only a few time a month or when celebrating special occasions. But, did you know that alcohol consumption has an impact on your oral health? While we aren’t going to nag you by saying you have to live life like it’s the Prohibition Era again, we just want to point out the dangers of alcohol consumption as it relates to your teeth. If you still want to partake in an adult beverage, just do so responsibly and take care of your teeth by following our recommended tips.

Let’s talk about acidity

Acidity, which is present in all alcoholic beverages, plays a huge role in enamel erosion, which increases one’s risk of tooth decay and tooth sensitivity. While regular water has a pH of about 7, anything that causes your oral pH to drop below 5.5 can start causing some problems for your teeth.

You might think that only those sugary cocktails are all that you have to worry about, but even sugar-free drinks like the popular gin and tonic can ruin your teeth with too much consumption. This popular drink measures a pH of about 2, which is highly acidic for your teeth, and slowly causes enamel erosion over time, especially after a night of heavy drinking or going to bed without brushing your teeth. The damage could be even worse when alcoholic drinks aren’t consumed with food.

Don’t drink alcohol, you say? Well, those fizzy sodas are just as bad! Soda typically has a pH between 2.5 and 3.5, which mean you could still experience enamel erosion even if you don’t drink alcohol. Even fruit juices fall below the recommended pH to maintain a healthy mouth. Just think, if what you drink can dissolve the hardest substance in the human body, what could it be doing to your insides?

What to do about it

If you can’t live with the idea of giving up alcohol, or even sodas or juice, forever, at least consider drinking your preferred beverage through a straw (environmentally friendly ones of course!). This lessens the amount of liquids that actually come in contact with your teeth. At the least, be sure to follow your drink with a glass of water to rinse away any residual sugars or acids on your teeth. While you may think that brushing immediately after consuming one of these types of beverages is the best idea, think again. Doing so could only spread the acid around on your teeth even more. So, wait about 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after you’ve consumed an acidic beverage.

We are all adults here, so we aren’t going to tell you what you should or shouldn’t drink, to each his own. But, just do so responsibly, and remember to take care of your teeth to lessen your risk of enamel erosion or tooth decay. If you would like to learn more or to schedule an appointment, please contact Smiles by Dr. Cook today, or call (858) 673-0141. Dr. Cook would love to meet with you to discuss your smile needs and devise an individualized treatment plan to address all of your dental health needs. We welcome patients of Poway and Rancho Bernardo, California.

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