Date PostedAugust 26, 2013

Does Alcohol Affect your Teeth?

Yet another reason to drink alcohol in moderation has presented itself by an Aussie dentist who has urged people to go easy on the red bull and vodka. All the vodka and red bull or alcohol with soft drinks is eroding our teeth according to the dentist, mainly because of the high acid content.

The dentist, Dr. Christopher Ho has discussed in an article on the corrosive effects of alcohol and mixers on the teeth, something he says most people are oblivious of. While people are all too familiar with the hangover effects of drinking, they aren’t aware of the damage alcoholic drinks are doing to their teeth.

The problem is actually compounded when we binge drink because of the dehydration drinking causes. When we become dehydrated we lack saliva, salvia which helps protect the teeth from acidic alcoholic drinks, the following excerpt from the post on explains:

406223-38db9232-009c-11e3-9cff-2014e57d9885“I mean, people know about the after effects of a big night out, but we need to raise awareness of how that affects your teeth too. Tooth erosion is the biggest problem, and it’s all linked in with acid – we drink red bull with vodka, we mix alcohol with soft drink, then we think we’re being healthy by having juice or salads with lots of dressing. It’s this acid content that erodes your teeth.

“Alcohol dehydrates, and when you’re dehydrated you don’t have a lot of saliva in your mouth. Inside saliva there are anti bacterial agents which buffer acid, but when people are dehydrated these agents disappear, and so get more decay and erosion

It’s even worse news if you’re a binge drinker.

“If you vomit after drinking alcohol, you’re going to have problems with acid reflux. The affects are a bit like that of a bulimic patient, where you have teeth being eroded because of the acid coming out of your mouth,” he said. There is also a strong clinical link between the excessive consumption of alcohol and head and neck cancers.

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In a recent ADA Dental Health Report it was revealed that almost 3 quarters of people between 18-29 years old admitted to not brushing their teeth after a night of heavy drinking despite experiencing the “furry teeth” sensation. Furry teeth of course are an indication of a plaque build-up, which are left sitting on your teeth overnight if you don’t brush. The doctor also explains that brushing harder isn’t the answer.

Some of the suggestions made by the doctor for keeping teeth healthy include:

  • Using soda as a mixer rather than a soft drink and sipping through a straw rather than drinking straight from the glass.
  • Drink water while you’re drinking and afterwards. Diluting the acid will dull its effect on your teeth. Chewing sugar free gum can also help by stimulating the saliva.
  • Don’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking because this can wear away the enamel, rather wait 60 minutes after drinking before you brush.


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Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning, OH&S training, and web strategy firm based in Little Edward St. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia. Urban E-Learning provides compliance related online , Distance and Face-to-Face training products in the construction, hospitality and heavy vehicle transport sectors, to name a few. Examples include the White Card Construction induction course and the RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol course. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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