A guide to drinking and teeth

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We are all we aware of the role of eating and what we eat, and how this links closely with our health. The same is true of what we have to drink, but have you ever wondered how alcoholic drinks can affect the teeth? Studies and research show that those of us that do think about how alcohol affects the body and our health but give little consideration for the link between that and teeth. In this latest blog post, we’ll take a closer look at these two concepts.

We all like to have a drink from time to time and like many of the other ‘bad’ drinks around, it would be unrealistic to think people can or would cut them out altogether.


As far as alcohol is concerned it is generally not a great choice for teeth and here are the main reasons why:

Alcohol dries the mouth out meaning the availably of saliva is much lower. Saliva is a great property in keeping the mouth clean and healthy, so a reduction of this is not a good thing.


The acids associated in some alcoholic drinks (e.g. wine or cocktails) can erode and damage teeth so consideration needs to be taken if you are a regular drinker of these.


If you drink beer, do you know it is quite an acidic substance? This can damage teeth in the same way as other acidic softer drinks.


Ice found in some alcoholic drinks (again like cocktails) can be bad for your teeth, as some people have a tendency to crush the ice with their teeth. As ice is obviously a hard substance so chewing it can put strain on the teeth and damage them.


Many alcoholic drinks contain sugar – especially if they added with a mixer (a soft drink like coke for example.) Sugar is often involved in the fermenting process which makes alcohol alcoholic, so it is hard to avoid! Sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay and loss, and regular consumption of sugary alcoholic drinks can damage your teeth just as much as other parts of your body.


The most oral related problems from people who drink regularly include issues with the gums, decay of the teeth and sores in the mouth. In people that drink excessively or where drink is a problem, the risk of oral cancer increases significantly which is why it is important to have your regular dental visits.


Is it all bad?

Not necessarily! Some research has shown that red wine can help kill the bacteria in the mouth which causes tooth decay but that shouldn’t been seen as a mandate to drink lots of red wine.


What are the best of the rest?

Like food and soft drinks, some alcoholic drinks are not so bad. These are our pick of the best:

-Gin and tonic. ‘G & T’ drinkers can breathe a little easier. Gin and tonic are both clear liquids so staining is not an issue. Both of these drinks are also fairly low in acidic value.

-Champagne. It might be expensive, but you could argue you pay for what you get? Champagne generally has a low sugar content making it more of an ideal drink.


How else can you help the teeth when drinking alcohol?

There are also a few tricks or further things you can consider which might help.

If possible, drinking through a straw can lower some of the damage that sugary or acidic alcoholic drinks can cause. Having water in between your drinks will not only help keep you hydrated and help with a hang over, but it will keep the saliva content in your mouth higher, thus protecting teeth. Ensuring you continue your usual brushing routine and visiting the dentist every 6 months will always help, whatever your tipple is.


To speak to us about any aspect of dentistry, please find all our details on our contact us page now.

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