It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and you might want a wee draft of green beer to celebrate. While a drink or two might not hurt, more may have you opening wide for the formation of a cavity. Alcohol contains sugar and acids that, when combined with bacteria in your mouth can attack the enamel in your teeth and cause tooth decay.
It’s especially bad for teeth when you drink alcohol over many hours. Your tooth enamel isn’t able to re-mineralize, and the risk of tooth decay becomes even greater. Alcohol also dries out your mouth, reducing the amount of saliva your mouth produces. Saliva is important in washing away the harmful debris and bacteria in your mouth. Finally, the dye in green beer can also stain your teeth if you consume too much. The dye works much like a children’s mouthwash that highlights plaque and tartar, not an attractive problem to have.
And if your one beer turns into a night of regret, consider the long-term effects of heavy drinking. It’s not only bad for your overall health, but will also put you at greater risk for oral cancer.
If you’re concerned about your risks for oral cancer, see your dentist for a check-up.
So if you already promised a fun night out with your friends this St. Patrick’s Day, drink in moderation. After a night of celebrating, brush and floss your teeth and drink plenty of water. Fluoridated water is best because it can help prevent tooth decay. And hydration will help prevent a potential hangover!
St. Patty would approve.