If you brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and see your dentist for regular check-ups, then you are doing a great job at keeping your teeth and gums healthy. However, even if you follow these oral hygiene practices religiously, you can still put your dental health at risk if you consume alcohol, especially in excess. Here are a few of the problems that alcohol can create for your mouth.
- Cavities: Tooth decay occurs when plaque bacteria processes sugars to produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel. Alcohol is very high in sugar, giving plaque bacteria plenty to work with.
- Bruxism: When you grind or clench your teeth at night, you can wear, fracture, or loosen your teeth and may even develop problems with your jaw. Alcohol use increases the chances of this nightly bruxism.
- Dry Mouth: Saliva is an important component in fighting tooth decay. It cleans away food debris, brings in minerals to rebuild enamel, and neutralizes harmful acids. Alcohol use dehydrates the body and dries the mouth. Over time, it can reduce saliva production.
- Oral Cancer: Most people who develop oral cancer have been found to drink alcohol. Alcohol aggravates the tissue in the mouth, making the cells more susceptible to cancer. The chances of developing oral cancer are increased 6 times when an individual drinks alcohol.