The Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Your Teeth
August 15, 2012
Alcohol abuse is a growing problem in many parts of the United States. While many people understand some of the risks of excessive alcohol use, like cirrhosis of the liver, metabolic problems, and circulatory problems, they may not understand how alcohol can have a negative impact on your body, including your teeth. Let’s explore how alcohol abuse can have a negative impact your teeth and dental health.
Alcohol Abuse Doesn’t Just Mean More Cavities
Pure alcohol on its own will not damage one’s teeth. However, most people don’t drink pure alcohol. Beer, liquor and mixed drinks have high sugar content and high acidity, breaking down the enamel that protects your teeth. This can lead to cavities, long term tooth decay and increase the risk of periodontal disease.
People that suffer from alcohol abuse may also forget to brush their teeth. While once in a while forgetting to brush isn’t the end of the world, poor dental hygiene can have long-term repercussions. Besides increasing the risk of cavities, poor oral hygiene can increase the risk of infection or abscesses in the mouth, which can be uncomfortable and dangerous if left untreated.
Alcohol abuse can also damage the soft tissue in the mouth. The alcohol itself is corrosive to the delicate tissue of the gums, increasing the risk of gum disease. Gum disease causes the gum tissue to erode from the tooth, creating a situation where the teeth are no longer properly protected or supported. From there, the increase in bacteria, a result of poor oral hygiene can attack the gum tissue or the tooth at its root, increasing the risk for tooth decay and even tooth loss.
Alcohol abuse also decreases the natural saliva in the mouth, which normally acts as the body’s natural antibacterial cleanser. Saliva helps wash away plaque, bacteria and even sugar to help keep the teeth and gums healthy and disease free. Without natural saliva, the mouth becomes dry, making it easier for bacteria and infection to stay in the mouth. Unfortunately studies have also shown that people who suffer from alcohol abuse are at higher risk for mouth and throat cancer as a result of the tissue damage and bacterial build up.
Seeing a dentist may not be the first thing you want to do when you get sober, but it is important to remember that oral hygiene is a part of your overall health. Taking care of your physical body means taking care of all of your body’s functions and systems, including your teeth, gums and overall oral health, so don’t skip your next dentist visit!
If you or someone you love is suffering with alcohol abuse problems, please call us today at 1-877-380-9777. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism treatment can help an individual overcome alcohol and substance abuse and learn to overcome the challenges they face in order to live a healthy and productive life. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from alcohol abuse and addiction issues.