Today I’ll be sharing some information on how alcohol negatively impacts not only your oral health, but your overall health.

Alcohol isn’t the only threat to your health. Tobacco and vaping also have a negative impact on your mouth and body. It’s probably no surprise to you that your body, your lungs and your liver can be damaged by alcohol and tobacco. What you may not realize is that your mouth can also suffer.

When you drink alcohol you produce less saliva. So what does this mean for your mouth? Cavity causing plaque may stay on your teeth a lot longer because there’s less saliva to wash it away and your saliva neutralizes the acid produced by oral bacteria when you eat or drink something without enough saliva, you’re at risk for cavities.

Alcohol has been also linked to other oral health effects including tooth wear, gum disease, bad breath, staining and trauma. People who are addicted to alcohol are also three times more likely to have permanent tooth loss and another scary fact: Alcohol abuse is the second most common risk factor for oral cancer.

The good news is there are simple things you can do to help limit alcohol’s impact on your oral health. Here’s how: consider light colored drinks to limit your exposure to chromogens which stain your teeth. Avoid chewing ice or adding citrus to your drinks. The acidity in citrus fruits can damage your teeth and lead to tooth pain and sensitivity.

Get a dental checkup two times a year so your dentist can clean your teeth and catch issues when they’re small. Remember to be honest about your alcohol consumption so she can provide the best care for you. Drink water, not only does it help keep you hydrated but it also helps prevent plaque from building up on your teeth. And as a bonus most tap water contains fluoride, which is great for your teeth.

When it comes to tobacco any form is damaging to your oral health. Smoking can cause gum disease, bad breath, tooth discoloration, loss of bone in the jaw, leukoplakia, which is white patches inside the mouth and oral cancer. And vaping isn’t any better for your oral health. It’s been shown to lead to an increase in cavities, gum disease and other oral health problems such as dry mouth, gum recession, tooth sensitivity and tooth loss and also damage due to grinding and clenching.

Reducing your alcohol intake and avoiding all forms of tobacco is so important and goes just beyond your oral health. When your oral health is negatively impacted your whole person health is at risk. Follow these simple suggestions and you will be on your way to a healthier mouth.

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