20 Jan The Effects of Alcohol on your Oral Health
The Effects of Alcohol on your Oral Health
Are you taking part of Dry January? Thousands of people in the UK take part in Dry January for a variety of reasons including; to take a break from alcohol, to raise awareness of heavy consumption and many more reasons. But what actually are the effects of excessive alcohol consumption on our teeth, gums and tongue.
Can alcohol cause dry mouth?
Saliva is key for the health of your mouth. It moistens tissues in your mouth, as well as rinsing away sugars and bacteria that feed on sugars to cause tooth decay. Without saliva, bacteria thrives in the presence of sugar. Heavy alcohol consumption causes a decrease in saliva production, which limits the ability to clean the mouth with its antibacterial properties. Consuming alcohol excessively causes the mouth to dry, making it a fertile ground for the bacteria to thrive while increasing the chances of an infection.
Can excessive alcohol lead to gum disease (periodontitis)?
Gum disease can also be linked to the reduction in saliva production. As we can see saliva is imperative for the health of our mouth. Through the excessive alcohol consumption a fertile ground for bacteria is created – this bacteria causes irritation, swelling and bleeding. Heavy drinking is also known to influence the microbiome of the mouth, which could lead to gingivitis.
Does alcohol effect my tongue?
Yes, it’s causes tongue inflammation, otherwise known as glossitis. Alcohol is known to dehydrate the whole body, meaning it also dehydrates the mouth. This is why in the morning after drinking excessively, the first thing you reach for is a glass of water! This dehydration can cause a “white tongue” – this is where papillae become inflamed and dead cells and harmful bacteria is trapped in between. This in addition to a decrease in saliva production, means harmful bacteria, food particles and sugars do not get removed, which can cause bad breath, along with a build up of plaque on our teeth.
Can alcohol cause tooth erosion?
Yes. Usually when drinking, people tend to eat high amounts of refined carbohydrates or mix their alcohol with sugary fruit juices used in cocktails, or soft drinks used as mixers. This leads to a higher sugar intake, adding to the already existing bacteria in the mouth – these combine to create acids which attack on the tooth enamel, creating cavities.
As you can see, alcohol consumption has many effects on our oral health, in particular a reduction of saliva production, dehydration and an increased sugar intake. So, it is important to not only be careful of your alcohol intake, but also to have an effective oral health regime including; flossing, brushing your teeth twice for at least two minutes a day and cleaning your tongue. Check out MyMouth’s sustainable award-winning oral health range here.
There are many more effects of heavy alcohol consumption, not limited to oral health. If you require help and advice on alcohol consumption, please visit Alcohol Support
Check out MyMouth’s award winning sustainable oral health products and improve your dental habits now.