It’s something that not many people really consider, but alcohol can actually have a significant impact on your teeth and general oral health, especially if you regularly exceed the recommended intake of units. In 2016, these maximum recommendations were amended to 14 units for both men and women each week, which roughly equates to six pints of regular beer or lager, or seven medium glasses of wine.
Just like eating lots of sugary snacks, drinking booze can also have a detrimental impact on your teeth. Many alcoholic drinks are quite acidic and contain plenty of sugar; anything with fruit juice mixers and many sparkling drinks can contain around the same acid levels as a glass of orange juice. Fruit ciders are also often packed with sugar, as are many types of cocktail, red wine and port. Unfortunately the acidic drinks can contribute to dental erosion and the sugary drinks to dental caries, while those that are both acidic and have a high sugar content cause both problems! An article from the Oral Health Foundation states that those who exceed the recommended alcohol intake amount have been found to have higher levels of tooth decay than those who drink moderately.
According to Cancer Research UK, the risk of oral cancer is 32% higher in those who drink alcohol regularly, compared to those who don’t. Those who regularly exceed the recommended weekly alcohol unit intake can also experience an increased risk of gum disease. For those who smoke, as well as drink regularly, the risks increases even more. Whether you binge drink or spread your drinking habits over a week the risk of cancer is still there. The risk is smaller when the alcohol intake is within the government guidelines.
How to check whether alcohol has damaged your oral health
Visiting your dentist regularly should help to pick up any potential problems early, before they become serious issues that can require extensive treatment. Your dentist should be able to spot the early signs of decay and gum problems at one of your regular visits and advise a treatment plan to resolve the problems.
If you feel that your dentist hasn’t spotted signs of decay or if you think you haven’t been receiving the correct treatment from your dentist then take a look at our dental advice page, or give us a call on 0808 301 8163.