How to Keep Your Mouth Healthy Over the Festive Season
Christmas and New Years are a time when families get together to eat and exchange presents, usually with a drink in hand and another in the fridge. A few drinks here and there doesn’t hurt, but it’s when it becomes excessive that there are serious consequences for your overall health and for your oral health. That’s why we created this article, to help you understand more about what those extra drinks are doing to your mouth.
How Much is Too Much?
Drinking is a big part of Australian culture, and it’s an even bigger part of the holidays. For a lot of people, spending Christmas and New Year’s Eve with a few drinks is a normal part of the holiday. But it can also have some very serious consequences for your overall and oral health.
Most people know that drinking more than 21 standards drinks a week is classified as alcohol abuse, with dangerous and even deadly consequences. However, even small amounts of alcohol can cause cavities and infections, and reduce the health of your mouth and teeth. And as a little bonus, drinking can also markedly increase your risk of getting oral cancer. The only behaviour that’s worse for your oral health than drinking is smoking, which people often indulge in when they have a few drinks. Smoking occasionally may seem fairly harmless, but people who drink and smoke are 15 times more likely to contract oral cancer than those who don’t. The reality of this statistic is yet another reason to decrease the amount of alcohol you drink and to avoid smoking entirely.
Alcohol and Your Oral Hygiene
Drinking too much alcohol makes you feel lousy all around. Between the headaches and the nausea and the aches and pains, it really takes its toll on your body and wellbeing. But it also affects your mouth and your overall dental health. And it doesn’t make a difference what you choose to drink either. Whether you prefer wine, beer or spirits, they can all harm your mouth and cause problems for your dentist.
Alcohol can have the following negative effects on your oral hygiene:
It causes dry mouth, which causes tooth decay. Over time, alcohol can actually damage your salivary glands, making your mouth permanently dry.
It can stain your teeth and gums.
Too much alcohol causes dehydration, which means the acid in your mouth can build up and damage your teeth.
Alcohol has a lot of sugar in it, which can cause cavities.
Drinking alcohol can cause you to neglect your oral hygiene routines.
Alcohol gives you an increased risk of developing oral cancer.
How to Keep Your Mouth Healthy When You Drink
There are a few things you can do to keep your mouth as healthy as possible when you do have a few drinks. Try the following steps to make sure your night out doesn’t mean you have to make an emergency trip to the dentist:
Sip water in between mouthfuls of alcohol. This will clean your mouth and wash the alcohol off your teeth.
Chew sugar free gum to stimulate saliva, which will help protect your teeth from the sugar in your drinks.
Rinse your mouth before brushing with one teaspoon of bi-carb soda mixed in a glass of water. This will restore the pH balance in your mouth and protect your teeth during brushing.
Make sure you brush your teeth well before bed.
Paramount Dental Sydney Says