The holiday season is upon us, and with all of the merriment, you’re bound to be offered a drink or two. At Dental Care of Boca Raton, we’re not opposed to an occasional tipple, but we definitely want you to be aware of how alcohol consumption can affect your oral health. Here are a few specifics on alcohol and your mouth as well as suggestions about what you can do to make sure you stay healthy year-round.
It’s All About the Bacteria
Every single second, your mouth is host to millions of bacteria — both bad and good. The bad bacteria are what cause cavities, gum disease, bad breath, and even strep throat. The good bacteria are what keep the bad bacteria in check. When you drink alcohol, more bad bacteria is produced while beneficial bacteria production is diminished. This puts you at risk not only for the conditions listed above, but whole health problems, as well, including hypertension, heart disease, and low birth weight in babies.
Another thing that occurs when you drink alcohol is dehydration. When you are dehydrated, saliva production slows; because saliva is nature’s way of constantly cleaning your teeth and oral structures, the absence of it causes harm. The best way to fight the effects that alcohol has on your teeth is to stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water before and during your alcohol consumption can help keep bad and good bacteria balanced. It can also prevent the dehydration that leads to hangovers. If you use a mouthwash that contains alcohol, skip it when you’ve been drinking.
Another way you can help prevent the pitfalls of drinking is to brush and floss every single day. If you’re drinking and have food stuck between your teeth, you’ve basically created a feast for the bad bacteria you’re trying to get rid of. When you brush, opt for a toothpaste that doesn’t have sodium lauryl sulfate (the ingredient that makes your toothpaste foamy), as it can also contribute to dehydrating the mouth.
No matter how you celebrate, the team at Dental Care of Boca Raton is here to help you keep your mouth healthy and smile beautiful. If you live in or near Boca Raton, Florida, we’d love to count you among our patients! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.