How Alcohol Affects your Oral Health – Dry January

6th December 2019

As usual, the new year brings a number of resolutions, many of which are about our unhealthy habits, for example healthy eating, joining (and going to!) a gym, giving up smoking and one of the most popular resolutions, Dry January, going an entire month without a drop of alcohol.
This booze break comes after much overindulgence during Christmas and not only is it good news for your wallet and liver but the dryathlon can also have a good impact on your oral health. Here’s how.

Many alcoholic drinks are acidic and high in sugar, especially when they are mixed with fizzy drinks, or juices. Therefore, regular drinking can lead to tooth decay and acid erosion of the enamel. Alcohol also has dehydrating effects and reduces saliva flow. Since saliva helps to neutralise the acid to help protect your teeth, the reduction of it can be detrimental.

Excessive drinking increases the risk of mouth cancer by up to four times of that of a non-drinker! Pretty scary statistic, right? However, if you’re also a regular smoker too, the risk of cancer soars to over 30 times more likely!

It is recommended that it’s safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis and to avoid binge drinking. You may think that you don’t drink to excess, however you may be surprised to know that a single unit of alcohol is small, depending on your choice of drink. For example, an average strength pint of lager has 2 units and a glass of wine can have 3 units of alcohol (depending on the size of the glass!).

Red wine doesn’t just stain your cream carpets, but also your pearly whites too. Your teeth, although tough, are porous and can easily become stained by dark coloured foods and drinks, such as red wine, coffee, tea, tobacco etc.

The morning after the night before, all you want is food and we’re not talking salads. After a big night out, you’re more likely to eat a lot of sugary food, which obviously is damaging to your teeth and can cause tooth decay. Constantly snacking on these foods throughout the day also doesn’t allow your mouth recovery time to neutralise the effect on sugar on your teeth.

• Buddy up with a friend to do Dry January together.
• Get a hobby. You’ll be surprised how much time you waste nursing hangovers, so now with all of that extra time, why not bake a cake, join a book club or start up yoga?
• Treat yourself. We all know that ‘just one drink’ turns into several which leads the numbers in your bank account depreciating faster then you can down your drink! So now that you’ve saved that drinking money, why not treat yourself?!

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