Some of the most common ways people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day are by wearing a bunch of green, maybe going to a parade, and oftentimes, drinking beer. It’s also likely that you’ll be able to find many bars and restaurants serving green beer, after all, this is one of the biggest drinking holidays all year. However, this green beer, and alcohol in general, can affect your teeth. While your dentist in The Woodlands supports celebrating St. Paddy’s Day as you wish, we do encourage enjoying the day responsibly and reducing your risk of the negative oral health side effects of drinking.
Green beer can certainly stain your teeth as well as your lips and tongue. But this staining is only temporary and should easily disappear after you brush your teeth, ideally with a slightly abrasive whitening toothpaste. However, drinking beer and other types of alcohol, even if they’re not a bright vibrant green, can still cause tooth discoloration. Consuming alcohol regularly can make teeth look yellow or even brown. Darker drinks such as stouts and porters are more likely to lead to discoloration. Now, tooth discoloration that occurs from drinking alcohol over a long period of time probably won’t be removed by brushing your teeth. In this case, you may want to consider talking to your dentist in The Woodlands about your cosmetic dentistry options including veneers or professional smile whitening.
Damage to Enamel
Sugar is often labeled as the worst thing for teeth, but acidic foods and drinks can also cause damage. When acid is introduced into the mouth, it can wear away tooth enamel. Without this protective barrier, teeth may become increasingly sensitive and can even appear discolored or thin. So what’s this have to do with drinking beer? Well, beer is quite acidic, and drinking too much of it can wear down enamel.
While enjoying a drink or two during St. Patrick’s Day probably won’t cause gum disease, drinking alcohol excessively could. Many types of alcohol contain a lot of sugar, and as we know, sugar is one of the worst things for teeth. Sugar found in drinks and food feeds bacteria in the mouth and can form plaque. Plaque is a super sticky film that can be removed by simply brushing your teeth, but if you don’t remove plaque by brushing, it will harden into tartar. Tartar can’t be removed at home, and only your hygienist can clear it away with a professional dental cleaning. Tartar buildup also leaves bacteria free to infect the gum tissue and cause gum disease.
Reduce The Risk
There are different things you can do to enjoy your St. Paddy’s celebration and protect your teeth at the same time. Drinking alcohol in moderation and alternating a cup of beer with a glass of water will help wash away sugars and acid and reduce the risk of tooth staining, enamel erosion, and gum disease. Of course, we also recommend seeing your dentist in The Woodlands twice a year and brushing and flossing every day.