Dry January- It’s been good for more than just your liver

 In Dr Marc Hughes

Dry January has been an opportunity for all of us to cut our liver some slack by abstaining from alcohol after a potentially alcohol-heavy Christmas period. However, cutting out alcohol for a month will have done more than just give your liver a break- it will also have massively improved your oral health as well! Drinking too much alcohol can contribute to a myriad of oral health issues, from tooth decay to mouth cancer, so it’s really useful to know exactly how alcohol disturbs the balance of your oral ecosystem, and why reducing alcohol consumption over the course of 2019 might be something to consider. 

How does Alcohol affect my teeth? 

The most significant way in which alcohol affects your teeth is through the erosion of your enamel- many alcoholic drinks are highly acidic, making it easy for your enamel to be stripped away, leading to issues such as sensitivity, tooth decay and potential gum disease. As we all know, alcohol can leave you very dehydrated, and this has ramifications for our oral health too! Saliva production is heavily reduced when dehydrated, which is a problem as saliva protects our teeth from decay through neutralising harmful acids- without saliva, our teeth are defenceless against decay.  

One of the largest contributing factors to tooth decay and other oral health issues is simply the neglect of a regular oral hygiene routine. It can be easy to forget to brush your teeth after a night of drinking, or when feeling a little worse for wear the morning after, yet maintaining a regular brushing schedule is essential if you value your oral health. In addition to this, studies have shown that drinking an excess of alcohol greatly increases the risk of contracting mouth cancer- and if you tend to smoke when you drink, the chances of developing the disease become 30 times more likely! As mouth cancer is one of the few cancers that is on the rise, understanding the link between alcohol consumption and oral cancer has become more important than ever. 

These are just some of the many reasons why alcohol is damaging to your oral health, and why your mouth, as well as your liver, will have thanked you for undertaking Dry January and potentially cutting down on alcohol intake altogether throughout the year. If you are experiencing any issues with your dental health, alcohol related or otherwise, don’t hesitate to give us at Strand on the Green Dental Practice a call on 020 8995 0298 and we’ll book you an appointment as soon as possible.

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