Alcohol and Oral Health
Now that December has arrived, we are in the throes of planning for the holidays. Along with the added stress the holidays bring, we are also dealing with the effects of the year we have had. For many, the holidays will look very different this year, with cancelled holiday parties and smaller, more intimate gatherings than usual, even just limited to immediate family. Although there will be some differences this year, many of you will still be enjoying a glass of wine at your Hanukkah dinner, a cup of eggnog in front of your Christmas tree, and popping a bottle of champagne to ring in the New Year. Before the liquid courage starts flowing this holiday season, we want you to be aware of how alcohol consumption can affect your oral health.
Changes in Oral Bacteria
Your mouth is full of millions of bacteria, both good and bad, known as the oral microbiome. Similar to the traditional microbiome that we are familiar with, the goal of the oral microbiome is to have an overpowering number of good bacteria outweighing the bad. Good oral bacteria helps to rid the body of the bacteria that cause tooth decay and illnesses like strep throat. When alcohol is introduced to the oral microbiome, it creates an imbalance of bacteria, eliminating the good bacteria that your mouth thrives on, leaving the bad to wreak havoc on your mouth and immune system. Overconsumption of alcohol can cause potential problems such as:
- Bad Breath
- Stained Teeth
- Gum Disease
- Dry Mouth
- Oral Cancer
Ways to Help
The good news is there are simple steps you can take to still enjoy your holiday cocktails while also being mindful about continuing to maintain a healthy oral microbiome.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to help replenish saliva and wash away and remnants of alcohol in your mouth.
- Brush, floss, and clean your tongue as soon as possible after finishing your last alcoholic beverage to ensure harmful bacteria is removed.
- Enjoy alcohol in moderation so as to eliminate potential serious dental issues.
As always, the best way to ensure your teeth and oral microbiome are in perfect health is to stay up-to-date with your dental cleanings. If you are due for cleaning, please call our office located in Spotswood, NJ today to schedule your next appointment. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Cheers!