Keep Your Teeth Clean, Not Green
The enamel on your teeth is the hardest substance in the human body, but once it is destroyed it doesn’t grow back. Once the sugar, acid and starch from alcohol combine with the natural bacteria in your mouth, the enamel starts to wear down.
Saliva naturally protects against germs in your mouth (and bad breath) while also using the proteins and minerals it contains to protect against gum disease, cavities and keep your tooth enamel strong. Drinking alcohol, like smoking, causes dry mouth, which in turn speeds up any damage inflicted by the acid, sugar and starch in your drink.
With prolonged alcohol exposure comes an increase in the chance of damage to your oral health. Effects include irritation of the gums and oral tissues, increase in tooth decay, increased risk of gum disease, and slower healing after dental surgery. Heavy drinking also leads to greater risks of mouth, throat and esophageal cancers.
If you have started the process of whitening your teeth, stay far away from green beer. Whitening opening the pores of the enamel and indulging in green beer (or any dyed food or drink) could leave you with a green tinge to your teeth.
Good Habits to Protect Your Teeth
We don’t want to tell you not to enjoy St. Patrick’s day, but use these simple pointers to keep your smile healthy:
- Drink water between alcoholic drinks. Not only will this help rinse away the sugars and acids from your teeth, but it may help with the hangover the next day!
- Brush and floss before bed. Set an alarm on your phone before you head out to the parade as a reminder to make sure you’ve cleaned away all the leftovers in your mouth.
- Get a good night’s rest. A lack of sleep is common with patients who get trench mouth – an periodontal disease that causes tissue death and open sores.
Remember to drink responsibly and have a happy St. Patrick’s Day! If you are worried about your oral health, before or after the parade, call Dr. Elias for a consultation at (914) 873-0045.