How Alcohol Affects Your Oral Health

How Alcohol Affects Your Oral Health

People generally expect that their primary care physicians will ask questions about their alcohol consumption. But what about your dentist? While it’s often thought that alcohol doesn’t have a significant effect on one’s oral health, the truth is quite different. In fact, alcohol consumption may also prompt you to visit your dentist for sleep apnea treatment, as it can increase the risk of this chronic sleep disorder.

Alcohol is a major risk factor of oral cancer.

It’s true that tobacco is the No. 1 risk factor of oral cancer, but heavy alcohol consumption is right behind it. People who smoke and drink are at an even greater risk of this deadly disease. Oral cancer is a devastating disease that causes facial disfigurement and death. While abstaining from alcohol entirely is the only way to eliminate this particular risk factor, it may be possible to control the risk by avoiding excessive consumption. Experts generally recommend that women consume no more than one alcoholic beverage daily. For men, the daily limit is two.

Alcohol increases the risk of tooth decay.

If you frequently drink alcohol, your dentist is more likely to find cavities during your check-up. There are a few reasons for this.

  • Alcohol contains sugar, which feeds bacteria and leads to tooth decay.
  • People who drink alcohol heavily are more likely to neglect oral hygiene at night.
  • Alcohol dries out the mouth, which increases the risk of cavities.
  • Heavy drinking can lead to vomiting, which exposes the teeth to enamel-damaging acids.

Alcohol causes bad breath. 

It’s common knowledge that it’s easy to detect alcohol on someone’s breath, and yes, it stinks. But did you know that alcohol can cause bad breath even after it’s left the person’s system? That’s because it dries out the mouth. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, results in bad breath.
At the Tucson dental office of John R. Carson, DDS, it’s our mission to help each patient become healthier and enjoy better quality of life. If you have sleep apnea, perhaps related to alcohol consumption, we can help you get it under control by partnering your MD to determine if an oral appliance for sleep apnea is appropriate for your sleep apnea.. New and current patients can request an appointment at (520) 514-7203.