Six ways alcohol abstinence could improve your oral health

Have you been abstaining from alcohol this January? As part of a recent custom known as ‘Dry January’, thousands of Britons have taken part in a month-long abstinence of alcohol. This is great for the health of their livers, but it’s also great for their oral hygiene too. Here’s six ways alcohol abstinence improves oral health.

1. Less sugar

We all know that a diet with lots of sugar can harm your teeth. But did you also know that many alcoholic drinks contain sugar? For example, some cocktails contain around 15 g of sugar, while some ciders contain around 20g of sugar per pint. Wines, sherries, beers and ales also contain sugar. So, by cutting down your alcohol intake, you co help decrease your sugar intake too. Your teeth will thank you for it!

2. Less acid erosion

Beer, wine, and spirits all have a pH less than 4, which means they are acidic. Acidic drinks are bad for your oral hygiene because they slowly erode the enamel on teeth. You don’t want this to happen because enamel is your teeth’s protective outer layer – without enamel, your teeth will be highly susceptible to decay and damage. So, we advise drinking in moderation to avoid enamel erosion.

3. Less risk of oral cancer

Another bad thing about alcohol is that it increases your risk of oral cancer (which is cancer of the mouth, including the tongue, cheeks, and lips). According to Cancer Research UK, oral cancer caused 2,386 deaths in the UK in 2014. While smoking was the largest risk factor for these cancers, 30% of the cancers were linked to alcohol. So, do yourself a favour and drink sensibly (and ideally, stop smoking too).

4. Less staining

Some alcoholic drinks can stain your teeth, particularly red wine and dark beers. Red wine tends to stain your teeth purple, while dark beers can cause brown stains. Indeed, any type of beer over time can cause yellow or brownish stains. So, by avoiding alcohol, you’re helping your teeth to stay a healthy, natural colour. While this won’t necessarily help your oral health, it will keep your smile looking bright and beautiful!

5. Fewer ulcers

Another risk of alcohol consumption is mouth ulcers. Even a single night of drinking can cause small ulcers in your mouth. Mouth ulcers can be painful and make it difficult to eat or drink. So, by lowering your alcohol consumption, you’re lowering your risk of annoying mouth ulcers.

6. Fewer accidents

Finally, let’s tackle the reason for why a lot of people drink in the first place: to get drunk. We don’t deny that being drunk is fun, but when you’re drunk, you’re at a higher risk of having an accident. Accidents such as falls can damage your teeth – or worse. So, don’t be the person who wakes up in the morning with teeth missing. Drink sensibly and help look after your teeth!

If you have any concerns about your oral health related to this article, or just in general, please get in touch with our dentists by calling our team on 01432 274749 or emailing

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