Alcohol and How it Affects Your Teeth

Many people enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or in the evening to relax, but alcohol can have adverse effects on your dental health. Alcohol tends to be high in enamel-eroding acid, and your teeth may end up not just stained but also worn down. You may even be more prone to tooth decay.

Alcohol is dehydrating and can decrease saliva production. Saliva plays a critical role in your oral health by helping remineralize, or rebuild, teeth after a meal. Unfortunately, the high acid content causes teeth to demineralize more quickly. This imbalance can create a breeding ground for bacteria, which produce even more acid. The effects are even more serious for binge drinkers or heavy drinkers, particularly if they vomit after drinking.

You do not have to go alcohol-free to protect your teeth, but you do need to practice some good dental habits. Mix your drinks with soda water instead of soft drinks or energy drinks, which can help reduce the acidity, and drink water after any alcoholic beverages to dilute the acid and help you maintain proper hydration levels. You may also chew sugar-free gum, which contains Xylitol, to stimulate saliva and combat cavities.

Although you might be ready to brush when you come home after an evening of drinking, you may need to hold off. Brushing too soon can damage enamel further. Wait about one hour after drinking before brushing with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste, which protect your enamel and clean away plaque and bacteria for stronger, healthier teeth.

Contact Dr. Frame, our Santa Clara dentist, today to learn more or schedule your appointment.

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