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How Can Excessively Drinking Alcohol Affect Oral Health?

man preparing to drink alcoholAccording to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, consuming 15 or more alcoholic beverages a week for men, and eight or more for women is considered heavy drinking. You’re probably already aware that this isn’t a healthy habit to maintain, but did you know that it can also have serious implications for your oral wellness? As you continue reading, a dentist in Brady explains the connection between excessive drinking, dental issues and life-threatening health problems. By becoming better informed, you can take the appropriate actions to protect yourself!

The Most Problematic Ingredient in Alcohol

No matter what type of alcoholic beverage you consume, it will contain loads of sugar. This can become a nightmare for your oral health because as the sugar rapidly breaks down, oral bacteria rush to where any leftovers remain to feed on the debris, and this disrupts the natural balance of good and bad bacteria in the mouth. As several types of microorganisms intermingle with your saliva, they can form plaque. The clear-sticky substance can eventually bore into your teeth to cause cavities (tiny holes).

What Happens When Cavities are Ignored?

Tooth decay won’t fix itself. If ignored, it will only get worse. Over time, oral bacteria can bore deeper into the tooth to infect the inner area where the pulp and canals are housed. It can also lead to gum disease, which is a condition that already affects millions of Americans.

Untreated gum disease, coupled with an imbalance in oral bacteria, can contribute to the following life-threatening conditions:

  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Liver Disease
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Oral cancer

Ways to Protect Your Oral an Overall Health

An obvious way to prevent health complications related to heavy drinking is to abstain all together. The next best remedy is to consume less.

Even if you don’t drink, you should make it a priority to brush and floss your teeth at least two times a day. If you choose to occasionally enjoy an alcoholic beverage, then wait around thirty minutes after consumption before performing oral hygiene to prevent any damage to your teeth.

It’s also important to visit your dentist every six months for preventive care. If you frequently consume alcohol, then you’ll probably need to visit more often to make sure there are no issues budding. Thus, you can better protect your teeth, gums and overall health.

About the Author

A graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Dr. Greg Ritchie has over 18 years of experience practicing dentistry. Along with providing comprehensive and compassionate care, he educates his patients about how they can maintain the absolute best in dental health. Dr. Ritchie promotes total wellness at Ritchie Dental Group, and he can be reached for more information through his website.


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