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Mar 2016
16th
 

St Patrick's Day and Teeth

St Patrick's Day is commonly associated with a few drinks and general merriment. However, excess can result in trauma to your teeth in several ways. For example, a company in the USA did a survey last year straight after St Patricks Day and found that the attendance to dental practices increased by up to 64%! In fact, all but one US state saw an increase which was directly attributed to trauma after excessive celebrations. Injuries included fractured front teeth, damage from 'face planting', teeth sensitivity, damaged crowns and chipped fillings. Moderation is the key! Not only is there the issue of trauma to teeth after a heavy night but alcohol has a direct effect on teeth as well as general health, which we will now discuss: ALCOHOL AND 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 which is much the same as for frequency of sugary drinks and snacks. But it is not just the sugar in alcohol that can be harmful to teeth. Alcohol dries out your mouth just like smoking does which thereby eliminates the natural healing power of saliva. Saliva provides a buffering effect against the acidity of alcoholic drinks to restore the PH balance. A dry mouth will be more susceptible to the effects of acid and sugar; a recipe for new cavities. The key is moderation. If you are going to indulge in St. Patrick s Day shenanigans, swap an alcoholic drink for water every other drink or perhaps consider diluting wine with soda water (alkaline and reduces acidity) Remember to thoroughly clean your teeth at the end of the night a few hours after your last drink, your teeth will thank you for it!

 

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