5 Truths and 5 Myths About Alcohol Consumption and Your Oral Health

Consuming a great deal of alcohol is bad for your overall health, but there is misinformation about the use of alcohol. Some people who drink think that they cannot become sick because they do not put certain substances in their bodies, but that is not the case. Alcohol may produce the same effects as using substances that could cause illness.
Alcohol drinkers may believe that certain diseases will not affect their teeth and gums because they only drink and do not smoke. They may be very wrong. Here are some truths and myths about alcohol consumption and oral health:

Myth #1: Alcohol Prevents Gum Disease

People who drink on a regular basis have less good bacteria in their mouth. Good bacteria perform various bodily functions, including fighting disease and digesting food. Bad bacteria may accumulate in the mouths of heavy drinkers, which may lead to gum disease and cancer.
One research study concluded that alcohol consumption changes the makeup of the mouth. When it comes to drinking alcohol, moderation is key. It is also a good idea to practice a good daily oral hygiene routine.

Myth #2: Oral Cancer Only Occurs in People Who Smoke

Combining alcohol and tobacco may contribute to oral cancer. In order to decrease the risk, you will have to eliminate the use of this drink. Alcohol abuse is the second leading cause of developing oral cancer. According to one definition, an alcohol abuser is someone who drinks at least twenty or more drinks a week. Alcohol abuse can also cause cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, another condition that may increase the risk of oral cancer.

Myth #3: Alcohol Prevents Dry Mouth

Alcohol can leave your mouth dry and irritated because it affects oral tissues in your mouth. You should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid drinking, if possible. If you do drink alcoholic beverages, try to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. A healthy diet that is low in sodium and fat may also prevent dry mouth.

Myth #4: Alcohol Will Not Cause Cavities

Just because you drink beer or other alcoholic beverages does not mean you will not have cavities. When sugar from these drinks mixes with bacteria in the mouth, it may cause plaque. Once plaque builds, it softens tooth enamel and may cause cavities. The more alcohol you consume, the more you expose your teeth to possible decay, especially if you practice poor oral hygiene.

Myth #5: Your Oral Health Is Good If You Go to the Dentist

Even if you go to the dentist on a regular basis, drinking may still affect your teeth and gums. You may brush and floss your teeth a half an hour after drinking, but alcohol may have already softened your tooth enamel. If you take care of your teeth, drinking alcoholic beverages may still produce mouth issues.

Truth #1: Citric Drinks May Harm Your Teeth

Adding citrus drinks to alcoholic beverages may erode your teeth. Citrus drinks are often loaded with sugar and may cause tooth decay and discoloration. When you add citrus drinks to your alcoholic beverages, they may break down the enamel of your teeth. You can brush your teeth after drinking an alcoholic beverage, but wait at least thirty minutes before doing so to protect your tooth enamel.

Truth #2: Say Good-bye to Your White Smile

Alcohol consumption stains your teeth because it contains chromogens, which are substances that may be converted into dyes. These chromogens attach to weakened tooth enamel and may stain your teeth. If you mix your drinks with a dark soda, your white smile may disappear. Liquor and beer are acidic and may stain weakened teeth.

Truth #3: Oral Hygiene Is Important in Rehab

You may think that once you are in rehab, you will not have to think about your oral hygiene. But, in order to recover inside and out, you will need to take care of your mouth. Alcohol consumption may harm your mouth. Once you stop drinking it, you may care more about your appearance. Your smile is an important feature and you will want it to look its best when you go to job interviews or meet new people.

Truth #4: Beer Is Not Better Than Liquor for Oral Health

Like liquor, beer is acidic and may still cause tooth decay. It is all still alcohol and may affect your teeth and gums. Dark colored alcohol may stain your teeth. Tooth decay and staining may be worse if you drink and practice poor oral hygiene. Your teeth may be rotten because of bad bacteria and because you do not brush and floss on a regular basis.

Truth #5: Oral Health May Improve in Rehab

In rehab, your oral health may begin improving because you are no longer consuming alcohol. Your care team may include dentists to help you with your mouth issues. If you have cavities or rotten teeth, your health insurance may be able to pay for some or all of your dental procedures.
Dentists may show you how to take care of your teeth properly so you can maintain your smile. Dentists and doctors may explain what will happen with your gums, teeth, and smile if you start drinking again. Effective rehab helps prevent that from happening. Once you are finished with rehab, you will have a new outlook on life because your mouth, teeth, and gums may feel and look better.
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