Why Alcohol is Damaging to Your Oral Health

alcohol damaging oral healthModerate alcohol consumption is largely considered a part of healthy living, but alcohol is also associated with a number of health conditions affecting your blood sugar, the brain, and the liver.
Alcohol also affects your oral health, says Dr. Molayem. In fact, research shows that people suffering from alcohol dependency usually have higher plaque buildup on their teeth, plus they are three times more likely to face permanent tooth loss.
How Alcohol Damages Your Oral Health
Sugar content and acidity.
Alcoholic drinks are dangerous because they contain the two most harmful substances to your teeth: sugar and acid. So, even non-sugary alcoholic drinks are still dangerous.
The amount of sugar you take, as well as the duration of time you allow it to stay in your mouth can adversely affect your dental health, increasing the risk for tooth decay. This is because harmful bacteria in your mouth convert the sugar into acids that erode tooth enamel.
The problem with alcoholic drinks is that you can keep sipping for hours, maintaining a high level of sugar content in your mouth for hours. The situation gets worse if you don’t rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth before going to bed, and maintain this cycle several days a week.
Some alcoholic drinks contain more sugar than others. Drinks like cocktails could be worse, because they combine high levels of sugar and acidity. The resulting tooth erosion (demineralization) can be much higher than mineral buildup (mineralization), resulting in tooth decay.
According to the American Dental Association, dehydration is one of the most forgotten side effects of alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol causes less saliva production, which means that you don’t have enough fluid to keep the mouth clean and remove food debris, bacteria, acids, and sugar from your teeth and gums.
Without enough saliva to fight off demineralization, the acid and sugar in alcohol can do a lot more harm to your teeth. So, it is important to alternate drinks with water, not only to fight a hangover, but also for your dental health.
Some deep hued alcoholic drinks, such as red wine and sangria not only change the color of your teeth temporarily, but also contribute to long-lasting discoloration and overall teeth dullness, which affects your smile. Regular brushing, preferably with a whitening toothpaste or hydrogen peroxide can help keep your teeth white.
How to Prevent Oral Health Issues Caused by Alcohol
Heavy alcohol consumption has also been linked with a 30 percent chance of oral cancer, due to the serious damage to soft tissues in your mouth.
The best way to prevent oral issues caused by alcohol is by preventing the drink altogether. Otherwise, opt for sugar-free alcoholic drinks so you only have to deal with the acidity; drink plenty of water when indulging in alcohol; and brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Give yourself about 30 minutes after the last drink before brushing.

Study Finds Wisdom Teeth Removal Opioids Go Unused Every Year

wisdom tooth removal opioids unused
According to research done at the Perelman School of Medicine and School of Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, more than 50 percent of opioids on a prescription after surgical tooth removal, such as the extraction of affected wisdom teeth, go unused by the patients.
Considering the number of people in the US who need a tooth extraction* every year, this translates to over 100 million unused opioids that lead to the possibility of misuse or abuse by patients, their family, or their friends.
*Mint Dentistry offers Wisdom Tooth Removal in Woodland Hills!
The Study
The researchers examined the use of prescription opioid for a group of 79 patients following tooth impaction treatment, and the impact of providing informational material about an internal drug disposal agenda and small financial incentives on the willingness of patients to properly get rid of their unused drugs. They also tested a messaging platform for its effectiveness in collecting data on soreness or pain and the corresponding use of prescription medications.
During enrollment, the participants were each issued with a debit card with a $10 deposit. Surveys to check pain intensity and the use of medication were delivered through text message daily for the initial seven days after treatment, and again on the 14th and 21st day after surgery.
To incentivize the participants, they were given an additional $3 credit on their debit card after each survey, up to a maximum of $27. At the end of the follow-up interview about their condition, the patients were given an extra $10.
According to the survey, the patients experienced the most pain with an average score of 5/10 just 24 hours after surgery while taking medication. The day after, 51 percent of the patients reported a significantly lower pain score of between 0/10 and 3/10. By day 5, nearly 80 percent has a low pain score.
After the procedure, 94 percent of the patients received an opioid prescription to manage pain; 82% also received a NSAID – a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug; while 78 percent were prescribed an antibiotic. Generally, 93 percent of the patients without post-surgical anomalies were prescribed a total of 28 pills.
By the end of three weeks only 5 patients has used all their opioid pills, while the rest had used only 13 pills, leaving over 1,000 discarded pills. From the study, it was apparent that most patients were experiencing minimal pain within five days, yet they still had more than 50 percent of their prescribed opioid pills left.
According to the study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, it is possible that the availability of prescription disposal kiosks in pharmacies, as well as small financial incentives may help facilitate the proper disposal of opioids by over 20 percent. Moreover, combining prescription-strength drugs, like ibuprofen with acetaminophen, was observed to provide more substantial pain relief and minimal adverse effects compared to opioid-containing drugs.
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