You already know the effects alcohol can have on your body, but do you know how it can affect your oral health? At the orthodontic office of John A. Gerling DDS MSD, our job is to educate adult patients on how to keep their teeth healthy during orthodontic treatment. Before you pick up that glass of your favorite alcoholic beverage, consider what’s inside.
Acid – Most alcoholic drinks are very high in acid content. Mixed drinks made of soda or fruit juices typically have the most acid. If left on the teeth too long, acid can erode the enamel on your teeth, making you prone to disease-causing bacteria.
Sugar – Whether you can taste it or not, your alcoholic drink of choice most likely has sugar in it. Sugar is bacteria’s best friend. Bacteria feed on the sugar left on your teeth and leave acid behind.
Dyes – Many wines and spirits contain dyes that can stain your teeth. Avoid colorful drinks and red wines to keep your teeth bright and healthy. Drinking white wines causes no discoloration.
Tips for Drinking Alcohol with Braces
- Don’t babysit your drink. While sipping on your drink over time saves you money and keeps you from becoming intoxicated too quickly, it can have a negative effect on your teeth. Your mouth does not get time to balance its pH, helping bacteria to thrive.
- Drink water throughout the evening. Not only can drinking water between drinks keep you hydrated, but it can also rinse away some of the acid and sugar from your drinks. Occasionally swish it around before you swallow.
- Don’t skip your nightly routine. No matter how tired you may be, remember to brush and floss before bed. You don’t want your first breath the next morning to taste like last night.
- Be smart and drink in moderation. Remember to drink responsibly and pace yourself. Try not to overdo it and be sure to have a designated driver or other transportation to get home safely.
On a Serious Note…Did you know that regular consumption of alcohol can increase your risk for oral cancer? A study by the American Cancer Society found that people who drink alcoholic beverages often are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than someone who does not. Of those diagnosed with oral cancer, 75-80% are regular consumers of alcohol.
The best thing you can do for your teeth is, to be honest about your alcohol consumption and proactive when it comes to dealing with its effects. Keep the above tips in mind when drinking alcohol. Together, we can make sure you have the healthy, bright smile you’ve always wanted. Contact our McAllen TX office with any questions you may have or to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.