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Why Dry January Is Good For Your Oral Health

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The holiday season for most of us means gathering with family, feasting on delicious food, and more than likely overindulging in terms of both food and drink. This makes January the perfect excuse to give your body a bit of a break from alcohol. It’s no secret that cutting out alcohol is great for both your body’s health and your bank account, but did you know that cutting out the booze is also great for your oral health? In this post, Holly House Dental discusses Dry January, and how participating in it is great for your dental health.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

Acid Erosion

Most alcoholic drinks are sugary and acidic, Sugar and acid are about the two worst things for your tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the protective white layer on the outside of the teeth. When this enamel is exposed to alcohol and/or sugar, it wears down the enamel and can cause the teeth to soften and wear away over time. This is the main contributing factor to tooth decay and cavities in adults.

Tooth Decay As A Result of Dehydration

It is common knowledge that alcohol causes dehydration in the body, but what you may not know is that dehydration can damage your teeth. This is because dehydration reduces saliva flow in the mouth. Saliva in the mouth is important because it neutralizes acids. This safeguards the teeth from decay. When your mouth is dry as a result of dehydration, the risk of tooth decay increases.

Staining

When it comes to beverages that are known for staining teeth, the most common ones to come to mind are coffee and tea. However, alcoholic beverages such as red wine can also cause staining to your teeth over time. And while many alcoholic beverages are clear or light in colour, they are often mixed with dark colored mixers, which can also contribute to staining the teeth.

Gum Disease and Plaque Build-Up

People who drink regularly, or worse, excessively, may not be properly managing their oral hygiene. This can result in a buildup of plaque that can cause not only tooth decay, but inflammation of the gums as well. Inflammation of the gums can lead to serious gum disease such as gingivitis, which can be a serious and painful condition. If you feel like you may have overdone it on the drinks this festive season, and are worried that it may have negatively impacted your oral health, you may want to schedule a visit with your dentist or hygienist for a professional cleaning.

Vomiting

While this may be a little horrible to talk about, the fact of the matter is; excess alcohol in the body causes vomiting. Vomit, in addition to tasting terrible, is very acidic and corrosive to the teeth. This increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Increased Risk Of Mouth Cancer

Nearly 7000 people will be diagnosed with mouth cancer this year. What’s even more concerning about these numbers is that mouth cancer diagnosis (unlike other cancers) is on the rise. In fact, last year alone alcohol was determined to be the main contributing factor for close to a third of all mouth cancer diagnosis. This risk increases substantially for people who drink and smoke.

It’s important to recognize that caring for our mouths is just as important as caring for the rest of our body. Giving yourself a break from alcohol is a great way to not only improve your dental health but your overall health as well. So give your body the love it deserves and make this January a dry one. Your body and your mouth will thank you.

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Jenny in Neverland

Twenty-something lifestyle blogger from Essex. Book lover, Slytherin, organisational wizard and enjoys Motorsport, Disney and Yoga.

6 Comments

  1. I don’t really drink these days at all so it’s dry January all year round!

  2. I am so happy that you’ve got a post on this!

    I work in the dental department at my local hospital, and I actually created a public patient board with information on how alcohol impacts on oral health as part of Dry January!

    It’s good to spread the message xo

  3. Very informative post, pet. I’m very happy I stopped drinking last year. I had no idea it caused this much damage to your mouth!

  4. This is so interesting! Such great advice! I don’t drink very much, but I make sure I don’t as my birthday is February!😊. Thank you for sharing xx

  5. I was horrible with flossing and cleaning my gums. I was close to getting gum disease. This is great advice.

  6. This is so interesting! thanks for sharing

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