It’s summer in Boca Raton, and there’s nothing quite like an ice cold beer or frozen margarita to help cool down from the sweltering heat. Before you grab the bottle opener or pull out the blender, however, you might want to learn how those tasty adult beverages affect your teeth.
The Attack on Mouth Bacteria
An attack on bacteria might sound good at first, until you realize that alcohol also attacks beneficial bacteria. A large study of American adults revealed that those who drank regularly had less beneficial bacteria and more bad bacteria. What does this mean? Here’s what can happen when your mouth bacteria is out of balance:
- The good bacteria in the back of your mouth is what fights diseases such as strep throat; in the absence of that good bacteria, the bad stuff can thrive, potentially resulting in illness.
- Alcohol can cause dehydration, including dry mouth. Saliva is your first defense against decay, so when it is scarce, the bad bacteria has the opportunity to take over. Bad bacteria is responsible for tooth decay, gum disease, and BAD BREATH! Even an alcohol-based mouthwash can have this effect.
What You Can Do
The good news is that you can still enjoy your favorite wine or cocktail without harming your health — oral or otherwise. Here are a few tips to keep that mouth bacteria balanced:
- Stay hydrated. This is particularly important when you are drinking. The easiest way to do this is to match each serving of alcohol with at least one serving of water.
- Avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, especially if you’ve been drinking or plan to drink. There are plenty of options that are just as effective but won’t slow the production of saliva.
- Don’t let that bad bacteria linger; brush, floss, and scrape your tongue after you’ve finished your last alcoholic beverage.
- Enjoy in moderation. While the bacteria imbalance was present in the mouths of all drinkers who participated in the study, those who drank heavily had more persistent problems.
Whether you enjoy a nightly glass of wine or just an occasional tipple, the team at Dental Concepts is here for you. Contact our office to schedule an appointment. We proudly serve patients in Boca Raton, Florida, and the surrounding areas. We can’t wait to see your smile!