Pub Reopening Is Good News …. And Potentially Bad For Some
A precautionary word about alcohol and your teeth and gums.
From July 4th, The pubs will be open again in Ashby, Burton and across the rest of England. This will largely be welcomed by much of the public, both as a sign that we are possibly finally on the road to something like ‘normal’ again as well as the chance to socialise in a communal space. There will be many changes to the ways that pubs and restaurants operate of course, but some of our Alexandra Dental Care patients will be looking forward to a nice pint of beer or gin and tonic again we’re sure.
Whilst we welcome the easing of lockdown restrictions, there is a note of caution from our dental team about the way that alcohol can play a negative role in the health of your teeth and general oral cavity. We aren’t saying that you shouldn’t enjoy a drink, but it is important to be aware of the potential harm if you drink too much or too often.
Most alcoholic drinks will contain sugar, with some of those aimed at the younger market probably being much higher than others. Even a standard rum and coke will have the equivalent of more than 5 teaspoons of sugar in it, with some even higher. As we all know, sugar is the enemy of your teeth and will lead to tooth decay and cavities if your teeth aren’t cleaned sufficiently well. Even with the best brushing though, sugar can find its way into places that are not easy to keep clean. As around 80% of the population don’t use dental floss, it is perhaps not surprising that much tooth decay starts in the tight spaces between your teeth.
A decaying tooth can sometimes be restored with a filling or a crown. Where decay is very advanced though, the tooth may need to be extracted.
Oral, or mouth cancer is less well known than some other types but still kills approximately 4000 people a year. Survivors may be left with disfigurement and sometimes with difficulty in carrying out everyday functions such as a swallowing. Smoking is the biggest single contributor to oral cancer, but alcohol plays its part too. Especially if you drink regularly or excessively, you are at a much higher risk of mouth cancer than those who drink moderately or occasionally.
During your six monthly checkup at our Burton and Ashby dental practice, we carry out general oral health checks, inspecting not only your teeth and gums, but the tongue, cheek and other soft tissues of the mouth. If we find something that concerns us, we will refer you to your GP for further investigation.
If you have ever had the misfortune to have to visit the A&E on a Saturday night, you will have seen the damage that alcohol can cause in a very short period of time. Fights, falls, collisions and even road accidents can be the result if you drink too much and are not in full control of your faculties. Thankfully, drink driving is much less common than it used to be, but even a stumble can result in broken or knocked out teeth.
You should always be checked for any head injuries if you suffer a blow to that area of the body. Once you have had the all clear from that, you should arrange to see us as soon as possible to have your damaged teeth treated.
Gingivitis and periodontitis
Alcohol plays a role in gum disease too. Sugars feed the bacteria and alcohol often leaves us with a dry mouth which encourages potentially harmful bacteria growth. As gum disease is now believed to contribute to other diseases such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s, this problem is not restricted solely to our mouths. Providing that you drink sensibly, clean your teeth and make sure that you are well hydrated before going to bed at night, any risk will be minimised. You should also always stay on top of your gum health with regular appointments to see a dental hygienist for a professional cleaning of the teeth and gum line.
Failure to keep your gums healthy can result in gingivitis, periodontitis, and for those who have had dental implants previously placed, peri-implantitis. All of these have a number of unpleasant side effects and, if not treated early enough, can also result in the loss of teeth or implants.
As we approach the opening date of 4th July, we urge our patients to drink sensibly and remember to look after your teeth well. We would also remind our patients that our practice is now open and you can make an appointment to see a dentist by calling Alexandra Dental Care on 01283 216347.Google+