3 Ways Alcoholic Drinks Damage Your Oral Health – LIFESTYLE BY PS icon

3 Ways Alcoholic Drinks Damage Your Oral Health

Although the deterioration of oral health may not be the first consequence of alcohol abuse that you think of, for some this is a serious problem. The most common oral health issues are tooth decay and gum disease, but more serious conditions such as oral cancer could also arise if the abuse persists. You might also experience pain or tenderness of your jaw, which is a common symptom of having the temporomandibular joint disorder. It would be best if you visited your local TMJ specialist in Calgary, for example, to find out what procedures would correct the issue. 

Maintaining good personal hygiene is a way to prevent these issues from happening, or at least to keep them under control. However, if the following ailments are already present it is possible to improve them by first working on alcohol addiction treatment. 

Unfortunately for many, drastic oral health problems are a sign of extreme alcohol addiction, and treatment, such as alcohol detox, may be in order for these individuals. 

  • Cavities and Tooth Decay 
  • The high sugar content of most alcoholic beverages and dehydration are what cause things like cavities or tooth decay when drinking alcohol frequently. The plaque that results from sugar combining with your oral bacteria is what has always caused tooth decay. However, dehydration that often results from intoxication can make this situation worse by decreasing the amount of saliva in the mouth.

    Saliva works to wash away sugars from drinks and food continuously while in healthy amounts, but when this saliva is not available sugar sticks to the teeth causing more plaque than it would have normally.

    To make matters worse, alcoholics sometimes have poor personal hygiene, and this usually extends to things like regular flossing and teeth brushing. Toothaches are the most common early warning sign of tooth decay. If extensive oral pain is noticed it is best to bring this up to a dentist in order to gain some control over the situation. This would be the right time to view alcohol rehab options and choose the one best fitted for your needs. This transition means you can never have a drink again, but guarantees that you will never have to experience the oral pain that comes from alcohol consumption.

  • Gum Disease 
  • More formally known as periodontal disease, this condition is caused by the same bacteria that leads to tooth decay. Some of the most common symptoms of gum disease are gum swelling, bleeding gums, and bad breath. When left untreated this disease can have some serious effects like tooth and gum loss.

    It can also lead to oral cancer if allowed to progress far enough. Studies have suggested that gum disease can contribute to complications such as pneumonia and even heart disease as well. 

  • Higher Risk for Oral Cancer 
  • Oral cancer is the most serious oral health side effect of regularly drinking heavily. There are four types of oral cancer: mouth cancer, pharyngeal cancer, oesophageal cancer, and laryngeal cancer.

    Mouth cancer is the most prevalent, but any of these could affect chronic drinkers. The presence of lesions or ulcers anywhere in the mouth are early symptoms to look out for. Later symptoms include the presence of tumors, a lack of feeling in the mouth, and deep wounds in the mouth that seem not to heal. 

    Therefore, maintaining your oral health is extremely important. For alcoholics, maintaining oral hygiene, listening to dentists, and going through addiction treatment are the best ways to prevent dangerous and uncomfortable conditions like oral cancer from occuring.

    It can also prevent additional complications like heart disease and pneumonia, which although not a consequence of bad oral health, are directly related to alcohol abuse.