It is a season for celebration; a season to be thankful for our families, our faith and our health. I don’t know about your family but around this time of the year, my family tends to overindulge in the giggle juice, also known as alcohol.
It is not uncommon for family dinners to begin (and end) with a toast of champagne or wine. It is however, important to be responsible and limit yourself to safe levels of the hooch.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, there are approximately 17.6 million adults who are alcoholics or have alcohol problems. But far more of us tend to over-consume at celebratory times like New Year’s Eve.
Drinking alcohol can lead to tooth decay from the sugars and acids that are in alcoholic drinks. The sugar content can be even higher if you like drinks that come with little umbrellas! When these sugars combine with natural bacteria in the mouth they form an acid that attacks enamel, breaking it down.
This is especially true when the teeth are constantly exposed to sugars and starches in alcohol without a break. So, try to avoid being talked into a beer bong and keep a “level head” around the holidays.
After you stop drinking, your teeth aren’t out of the woods completely. It is not just the sugar, starches and changes in behavior with alcohol that can be harmful to teeth. Alcohol dries your mouth just like smoking. The dry tissue decreases saliva. Saliva is a powerful tool in reducing the incidence of cavities by washing away harmful bacteria. Dry mouth can accelerate the damage caused by the sugar in alcohol.
So, what is a “smart drinker” to do?
Drinking, like most other things, is best done in moderation for both your oral and overall health and well-being. Sipping alcoholic beverages is the best route, but be sure to brush and floss when you’re finished. If you want to avoid alcohol all together for the holidays, check out this list of to-do’s.