Saint Patrick’s Day: Alcohol and Your Teeth
St. Patrick’s Day parties often get reputations for being epic. On the day of Irish pride, inhibitions are thrown out the window in favor of a good time. As much fun as St. Patrick’s Day parties can be, you will not only be left with a St. Patrick’s Day hangover, you will also pave the way for cavities to set up shop on your teeth.
Tooth decay is a big problem related to alcohol consumption because of the sugars and acids in alcoholic drinks. When these sugars combine with natural bacteria in the mouth they form an acid that attacks enamel, breaking it down. This is especially true when the teeth are constantly exposed to sugars and starches in alcohol without a break.
But it is not just the sugar and starches in alcohol that can be harmful to teeth. The food coloring can result in an interesting look. Plus, the alcohol itself leads to dry mouth. Why does this matter? Because saliva is a powerful tool in reducing the incidence of cavities. Dry mouth can accelerate the damage caused by the sugar in alcohol.
The food coloring used to turn beer a festive hue has potent dying power. The plaque in your mouth will absorb the food coloring, making your teeth and tongue a matching green! One dentist writes that “green beer can act like the colorful disclosing plaque rinses used to teach kids where they’re missing brushing and make your teeth just scream with green color.”
So be warned! If you are going to partake in St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans, brush and floss your teeth as soon as possible. Or, keep the green dye use limited to your hair and a river or two.
What are your St. Patrick’s Day plans? Let us know in the comments on Facebook or Twitter!