Last Updated on May 19, 2023 by Dr Gustavo Assatourians DDS
Effects of Alcohol on the Teeth
During isolation due to the pandemic, the consumption of beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages increased in the population to help cope with the quarantine. It is important to know that alcoholic beverages not only affect the liver but also contribute to damaging oral health. In this article, we will address how alcohol consumption affects the teeth and the diseases that it can cause in the mouth, and general health.
Alcohol Consumption and Health
The consumption of alcohol in excess favors the development of cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, bad breath, and other oral diseases, affecting aesthetics since it generates a color change in the teeth. This is due to multiple factors, including dryness due to a lack of oral mucosa and the presence of sugar in the mouth. In addition, alcohol affects not only teeth but also dental implants, causing corrosion wear of the material.
- Caries: Alcohol attacks tooth enamel, causing small openings or holes, producing sensitivity and/or pain in the long run
- Gingivitis and periodontitis: The consumption of alcohol favors the deterioration of the gums since it dries the oral mucosa and weakens it, making it more susceptible to attack by the bacteria that reside in the mouth, this is a serious condition since this bacterial disease destroys the structures that support the teeth. If we do not solve it quickly and effectively, we can lose teeth.
- Bad breath: Alcohol causes bad breath. Due to the number of bacteria that come into contact with food, these bacteria produce a series of sulfurous compounds whose odor is very strong.
- Dental implants: A person who ingests too much alcohol is not a candidate for the treatment due to the risk of bleeding that may occur after a specific treatment.
Vomiting In The Teeth
Gastroesophageal reflux is associated with alcohol consumption. Among the symptoms, they present are heartburn and acid regurgitation. Heartburn is a burning sensation that is felt in the esophagus located behind the sternum. This is due to the gastric contents such as alcoholic drinks that irritate the normal lining of the esophagus; acid regurgitation is the sensation of gastric fluids rising through the chest reaching the mouth. When these acids have contact with the teeth, they cause dental erosion, causing wear on the tooth enamel and changing color; this is due to the difference in Ph between the acids from the stomach and the Ph from the oral cavity.
One of the side effects that vomiting causes is the wear of tooth enamel. The American Dental Association notes that tooth enamel wear is reported in more than ninety percent of cases of bulimia.
The sugar in Alcohol:
The sugar in alcohol is called ethanol. Let’s see how it differs from glucose; as we know, ethanol is not necessary for any biological process, so most of it is processed by the liver as a toxin. Ten percent is processed in the stomach and intestine and the other ten percent is processed by the kidneys, muscles, and brain. The first major difference between glucose and ethanol is that the liver has to work four times more because it processes eighty percent of the ethanol we eat.
Ethanol does not require the participation of insulin to enter the cells and simply diffuses and is converted into Acetaldehyde generating a substance called ROS (REACTIVE OXYGEN SPECIES). This damages proteins and can cause cancer, which is a key factor for aging. Acetaldehyde becomes acetate and enters the mitochondria overloading it, producing citrate, and transforming it into fat. This is the fat that causes a lot of health problems. In other words, the more sugar you consume, the more acid it will create in your mouth that will ultimately damage your teeth.
Dental Treatments if One Drinks a Lot of Alcohol
As it is a drink with high levels of sugar and carbohydrates, these are considered harmful to the enamel of the teeth, thus being the possible treatments:
- Treatment for cavities is healing or dental restoration.
- Treatment of periodontal disease is scaling and dental prophylaxis
- Treating bad breath, reducing alcohol consumption, taking preventative measures to the extreme, using alcohol-free toothpaste, and using tongue cleaners.
Some Recommendations to Prevent Oral Problems Due to Alcohol Consumption
- Brush your teeth after consuming alcoholic beverages.
- Reduce your intake of alcoholic beverages as much as possible
- Chew sugar-free gum.
- Don’t drink alcohol before going to sleep.
- Eat lots of vegetables and foods with fiber because the process of chewing this type of food cleans your teeth.
- Try not to peck between meals.
- Visit your dentist periodically for surveillance and timely check-ups.
If you have any questions about this or other topics, contact us at Channel Island Family Dental, as well as on our Facebook page. At Channel Island Family Dental, we are always attentive to your needs to make a timely diagnosis. In addition, our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Newbury Park Ventura, and Port Hueneme will guide you to the best treatment to give you back your best smile.
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