There are many habits that directly promote the development of oral diseases. Poor diet and smoking are the best known, but also has a significant impact on consumption of alcohol.
Ethyl alcohol or ethanol is the essential active component of alcoholic beverages. In addition to its demonstrated effect in the body, also, it affects the oral cavity. On one side would be its aesthetic effect, it produces staining of the teeth and generates bad breath. Secondly, and just as importantly, would be the emergence of various oral pathologies, ranging from conditions in the oral cavity mucosa, erosions in the teeth, gingival inflammation and even cancer.
And it is shown that alcohol, in contact with the oral mucosa, can cause alterations in morphology as epithelial atrophy. Ethanol metabolism produces acetaldehyde, a toxic and carcinogenic chemical that may damage the DNA of cells and proteins. This implies an increased susceptibility of the tissue against other cancer-causing chemicals, which actually opens the door to other carcinogens habits such as smoking, affecting further.
Importantly, many of the cancers of the mouth, throat and larynx are attributable to the frequent consumption of alcoholic beverages. In fact, oral cancer is one of the ten most common worldwide and more aggressive.
Excessive alcohol consumption also reduces saliva production, a situation that causes dehydration of the mouth and increased plaque that is the main cause of periodontal disease. This dry mouth is also behind the appearance of halitosis.
Alcohol can change the natural acidity of our mouth, which ranges between 5.6 and 7.6. If combined with acidic carbonated beverages such as gin and tonic, we can find with pH below 2.5, well below the range of 4,5, where the effects of erosion and demineralization of teeth they are obvious.
To the effect of ethanol alcohol in our mouth must be added the high concentration in many of these drinks sugars and carbohydrates, substances that “feed” the plaque, which attacks the tooth enamel, which in turn causes tooth decay.
It is clear that to take a wine or a cocktail are not going to suffer oral pathologies, but the lifestyle in which these drinks are very common, together with a lack of oral hygiene, can lead eventually the emergence of serious problems of health. And clinical studies to prove it, with a presence of periodontal disease (gingivitis well either periodontitis) 80% in alcoholics.
It is important that people who regularly consume alcohol frequently self-mouth for signs of oral disease, both teeth and gums and tongue. And, as always, the best help with any questions will be solved with a visit to our professional dentist, who will advise us on the best lifestyle to enjoy excellent oral health for many years.