With the festive season fast approaching and figures showing people are drinking more in lockdown, keeping within the recommended alcohol guidelines has never been as important.
Excessive alcohol consumption is not only detrimental to your overall health, it can also affect your teeth and could cause potential issues down the line if you do not take proper care of your teeth.
Sunny Sihra, Leading Dentist and Owner of The Simply Teeth Clinic revealed the ways in which alcohol can damage your teeth.
1. Staining on the Teeth
It’s no secret that drinking certain types of alcoholic beverages can promote staining on the teeth, said Sihra.
He continued: “Red wine, sangria, dark cider and other such drinks which have deep red pigmented colours will not only stain your teeth but will also result in long term discolouration and dullness.
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“If you can opt for clear alcoholic beverages that would be best, or if you must have dark coloured drinks try to wash your mouth with water in-between drinks and ensure you brush your teeth thoroughly before bed.
“Once the festive season passes, you may also want to discuss whitening options with your dentist if you feel your teeth have become stained or dull.”
Alcohol can lead to dehydration and this means that your mouth is also dehydrated and does not produce the normal amount of saliva that is needed to keep the mouth and teeth clean, explained Sihra.
“A decrease in saliva production is very common after having a few drinks, and the more you drink the worse it can be as instead of bacteria particles being removed and washed away normally, because your mouth is dry this bacteria will sit on the enamel and increase your risk of tooth decay.
“Be sure to drink water in-between drinks to keep your body and mouth hydrated.”
3. High sugar content
Most people, especially during the holiday season, tend to forget just how much sugar is in alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer and cider and tend to only worry about food.
But drinking an excessive amount of sugary alcoholic drinks can have truly damaging effects on your teeth and could put you at risk of developing tooth decay.
Sihra said: “This is because the bacteria in your mouth lives on sugar, so drinking sweet drinks offers the bacteria plenty of fuel to multiply.
“You should be opting for drinks that are low in sugar, such as spirits with a low sugared mixer such as sugar free tonic.”
To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level if you drink most weeks, the UK government advises:
Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
Spread your drinking over 3 or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
If you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week
Drink Aware offers a number of ways to reduce your drinking – one of these is to have drink free days.
It advises: “When you allocate certain days of the week to go drink-free, you’re more likely to stick to it.
“Challenge yourself to come up with other activities at home instead of drinking alcohol in the evenings or at weekends, for example, having a games night, taking a long bath or trying a new cake recipe.”
Visit Drinkaware.co.uk for more tips, guides and alcohol alternatives.