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The dentist in Widnes on alcohol and oral health

Here at Widnes Dental Practice, we offer a whole host of treatments to help our patients to enjoy better oral health and more confidence in their smiles. We also encourage our patients to take a proactive approach to looking after their teeth and gums. Firstly, that involves brushing the teeth twice a day for two minutes with a good fluoride toothpaste as well as flossing once per day.

In addition, as the dentist in Widnes, we encourage our patients to consider their lifestyle when it comes to maintaining oral health. An important element of this is minimising alcohol consumption. Here, we explain why this is important and what drinking too much can do to the teeth and gums.


Oral cancer


The dentist in Widnes advises that patients keep their consumption of alcoholic drinks to safe levels to prevent oral cancer. This is because regularly drinking to excess can significantly increase the risk of cancer of the mouth. The patient who smokes whilst drinking has an even greater risk of this form of cancer, so stopping tobacco consumption as well as keeping alcohol use to a minimum can be very helpful in reducing that risk.


Erosion


Many alcoholic drinks, especially those that are mixed with fizzy drinks, are extremely acidic. The acidic nature of these drinks can wear away the enamel of the teeth. Enamel is very important for protecting the teeth, and when it has been diminished, the teeth become much more vulnerable to damage and becoming eroded. This can result in tooth loss.


Risk of accidents


Drinking too much dramatically increases the risk of all kinds of accidents occurring. This includes a greater likelihood of damaging the teeth due to a fall or altercation, among many other potential situations. Limiting how many drinks are consumed in one sitting, and drinking water between beverages, can help to decrease the risk of trauma to the mouth that will impact the teeth and gums.


Easier to neglect oral hygiene


If a person has had one too many alcoholic drinks, then they are much less likely to brush their teeth and floss before going to bed. If this happens on a regular basis, then the health of the teeth and gums will suffer, and they are very likely to develop gum disease or even experience tooth loss.


How to prevent alcohol from affecting teeth and gums


The best drink for healthy teeth and gums is water. It aids the production of saliva which offers protection, it doesn’t contain any sugar nor is it acidic. However, many people want to enjoy some alcoholic drinks without having to worry they are damaging their oral health.


The best way to minimise the risks is to stick to the recommended guidelines on alcohol consumption. This is 14 units per week, which should be consumed over a few days rather than all in one go. Drinking more than 3 drinks (if they are around 2 units each) in one session is a binge and should be avoided. We also recommend that our patients have a few alcohol-free days every week as a protective measure for both oral and general health.