This weekend is the National Alcohol Free Weekend (April 4 to April 6). The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has issued a challenge for everyone to abstain from alcohol for a 3-day period. The main goal of this weekend is to set a good example for young adults; you CAN have fun and not drink. The second goal is to alert anyone who finds this 3-day challenge difficult; maybe you should re-evaluate your dependence on alcohol.
Need other reasons to think twice about alcohol? Not only can it damage your overall health, it can also impact your oral health.
So how can alcohol damage your smile? The sugar in alcoholic drinks combines with natural bacteria in the mouth to form an acid, which attacks and breaks down enamel. This is especially true when teeth are constantly exposed to the sugars and starches in alcohol without a break.
But it doesn’t end there. Alcohol also dries your mouth, which decreases saliva. Saliva is a powerful tool in reducing the incidence of cavities by washing away harmful bacteria. Dry mouth can accelerate the damage caused by the sugar in alcohol. For heavy drinkers, the probability of damage from drinking is much higher. In fact, people with alcohol abuse problems are at greater risk of developing cancer in the mouth, throat and esophagus.
Heavy drinking can cause:
- Irritation of the gum, tongue and oral tissues
- Poor healing after dental surgery
- Poor dental health habits
- Increase in tooth decay
- Increased risk for periodontal (gum) disease
- Increased risk for oral cancer
So if you decide to take the challenge of Alcohol Free Weekend, you could benefit your overall health and your smile! If you do, come back here and tell us about your experience.