Reasons to Minimize the Spirits while in the Spirit of the Season
- Posted on: Dec 15 2017
The holiday season is one of the festivities. When we feel more festive and have a busier social schedule, there may be more alcohol consumption going on than we imagine. Research on the subject of alcohol consumption can seem somewhat confusing. Some say that the antioxidants in red wine make this spirit at least a little beneficial to overall health and longevity. Most experts say that anything more than a low minimum of one to two drinks per day causes a host of problems we’d all rather not deal with. This includes oral health problems.
Alcohol and your Mouth
What we often hear discussed as a consequence of alcohol consumption is tooth discoloration. Drink too much red wine for too long, and your teeth will look dull and yellow. There’s more to the connection between alcohol and the mouth, though. First, alcohol is acidic, and acidity is bad for teeth and gums. Throw the diuretic effect into the mix, and you see that frequent alcohol consumption of any kind can significantly affect the body’s natural cavity-fighting capabilities.
The dryness that occurs as the body metabolizes alcohol affects saliva production. Low saliva production leads to dry mouth, which can be irritating if not uncomfortable. Furthermore, though, saliva is also antibacterial; it inhibits anaerobic bacteria, the microbes involved in the development of bad breath, gingivitis, tooth decay, and advanced gum disease.
Alcohol and the “Big C”
Oral cancer is a condition that we normally link to tobacco use. However, research also suggests that alcohol consumption, when frequent or heavy, can be a contributing factor to the development of oral cancer. This is because of the metabolism of alcohol results in the chemical compound acetaldehyde. This compound is capable of genetic mutation and is also categorized as a carcinogen. Acetaldehyde may reside in the liver, where alcohol metabolism primarily occurs. However, it may also occur in the mouth.
The body has built-in mechanisms to fight disease. It is up to us to support them with healthy lifestyle choices. While light and occasional alcohol consumption may be inconsequential, this habit is certainly something to be mindful of.
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Posted in: Dental Exams & Cleanings, Dental Health