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3 Ways Alcohol Affects the Mouth

Drinking alcohol is a fun way to unwind after a long week. However, beer, wine, and cocktails can have adverse effects on oral health. While visiting the dentist twice a year for professional cleanings will help you keep your smile healthy, there are other ways to reduce the impact of alcoholic beverages. Use the guide below to avoid common problems.

How to Minimize the Effects of Alcohol on Oral Health

1. Enamel Erosion

The thin layer on the outside of your teeth is called enamel, and it protects against cavities and sensitivity. Alcohol, lemon and lime wedges, and citrus juice mixed in cocktails contain acids that wear away at dental enamel, increasing the risk of decay.

After you enjoy a drink, rinse out your mouth with water to get rid of lingering acids. After about 30 minutes, brush your teeth for additional protection.

2. Staining

Many of the natural pigments in alcohol can tint enamel yellow or light brown. For example, the barley in dark beers and grape skins in red wine contain staining agents. Wearing down enamel also makes it more susceptible to discoloration.

To keep your smile bright, try drinking through a straw. This allows the alcohol and mixers to move past your teeth as you drink. You can also minimize staining by switching to light-hued beverages, such as white wine and vodka.

3. Bad Breath

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it drives the body to eliminate fluids. With a lower amount of water in the body, you may experience dry mouth, or less saliva. As a result, bacteria will linger around the gums and teeth, causing bad breath.

Stave off dehydration and dry mouth by drinking at least one glass (or 16 ounces) of water with every standard alcoholic beverage, such as a 12-ounce glass of beer, or 4 ounces of liquor. If you’re worried about odors, pack a travel-sized mouthwash in your purse or pocket, or use one provided in the bar bathroom.


To keep your teeth and gums healthy, turn to the dentists at Splendental. Dr. Douglas Nartker is a proud member of the American Dental Association and provides meticulous cleanings to help you avoid oral health concerns. His office offers convenient financing options that allow you to make dental care a priority. Learn more about his services online, or call (614) 588-0678 to schedule an appointment.

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