Good question – especially since we’re in the midst of holiday celebrations! What does our Dakota Dental Clinic have to say?
As much as you’d like them to advise that along with brushing and flossing on these chilly winter nights, you include a hot buttered rum as well, your Apple Valley dentists, Dr. Shelley and Dr. Bennett, say it is a mouth myth that drinking an alcoholic beverage has any beneficial value to your oral health.
It is a tooth-truth that most anti-plaque rinses and antimicrobial mouthwashes (like Listerine) contain alcohol, which does kills bacteria in the mouth. And yes, it is also a tooth-truth that fewer bacteria does mean less plaque on your teeth. However, here’s the rest of the story …
Your saliva helps to protect your teeth from tooth decay and it turns out that alcohol has a drying effect within your mouth, which can remove the protection normally present by the production of saliva. Plus, alcoholic drinks (yup, this includes beer) tend to be high in sugars that can damage teeth. And those sweet wines and drinks concocted with sodas or citrus juices have high acidity which promotes erosion of tooth enamel.
If you’re starting to think that your Dakota Dental Family Dentistry friends are sounding a bit like Scrooge – ruining your holiday cheer, take heart! Here are a few simple tips to prevent damage to your pearly whites while you dream of a white Christmas …
Always brush and floss well before going to bed (even if the office holiday party went into overtime and it’s really late!)
Drink a full glass of water and swish to rehydrate your mouth after drinking an alcoholic beverage. (Probably a good idea to find a discrete way to do this.)
Stay away from alcohol within an hour of going to bed – your mouth naturally dries out while you sleep.
Chew sugarless gum between holiday cocktails (and sweets) to help increase saliva production and flow, rinse away sugars and decrease the latent acid content of your mouth.
Resolve this New Year to schedule those routine dental services and dental procedures to prevent oral disease and any dental work that you’ve been putting off.
With these helpful tips tucked in your holiday stocking, you’ll be able to enjoy some holiday cheer – responsibly and in moderation of course.