A few drinks with friends can be fun, but you may be doing your teeth a disservice without even realizing it. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to a host of health problems and increases your risk or oral cancer. Just like drinking sugary soda, alcohol can cause problems for your teeth and increase your risk for cavities. But who wants to give up happy hour? I’m guessing not many of you, so use these 4 tips to minimize the damage to your teeth.
Sip with a Straw: According to a Temple University School of Dentistry study, sipping through a straw can help minimize the amount of alcohol that comes in contact with your teeth. Acids in alcohol and sugary soft drinks combine with the bacteria in your mouth to attack tooth enamel. The less amount of time alcohol is in contact with your teeth, the less chance you have of developing a cavity.
Use Wine Wipes: Do you love red wine, but don’t want it to stain your teeth? Try Wine Wipes, which will clean the wine off your teeth in seconds.
Brush Your Teeth 20 Minutes After Drinking: That’s how long it takes for saliva in your mouth to re-mineralize your teeth after they’re exposed to the acid in alcohol. If you can’t brush right away, rinse your mouth with water after each drink.
Chew Sugar-free Gum: Chewing sugar-free gum also helps increase the production of saliva, which neutralizes the acids in your mouth.
Most important, drink in moderation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, moderation means consuming no more than one drink daily for women and no more than two drinks for men. Learn more about the risks factors for oral cancer and what you can do to prevent it.