As responsible adults, there are definitely times when it’s acceptable to have a celebratory drink with friends or to go out and indulge in sugary junk food. But when these occasions become more frequent – less like treats and more like your daily lifestyle – it’s more than your waistline that suffers. Discover the ways that the vices of alcohol, tobacco, and sugar can take an irreparable toll on your smile.
People have different relationships with alcohol, tobacco, and sugary junk food. Some prefer to indulge recklessly while others avoid them altogether. Whatever your personal choice, it’s important to understand the impact that these products have on your oral health.
Alcohol is the ingredient in adult beverages that interacts with the nervous system causing a sensation of drunkenness. While moderate amounts do not cause a problem, there are a wide range of problems that occur if alcohol is consumed excessively. Among these are liver issues, addiction, and damage to your oral health.
All forms of alcohol can damage your teeth in various ways. Beer is surprisingly acidic, and these acids are devastating for your enamel. Many drinks include ice which causes mini-fractures in your teeth when you chew it. Cocktails are typically loaded with sugar and all forms of alcohol cause dry mouth which disarms your best defense against cavities: saliva.
While smoking remains a major problem in other countries, Cancer.ca reports that the rate of smoking in Canada has been steadily decreasing. That’s great news for Canada because decades of research has proven smoking to be a leading cause of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and other life-threatening diseases. With so many ways that tobacco is harmful to our health, it’s not a huge surprise that it’s damaging to our oral health as well.
The tissues of the mouth are sensitive and will absorb many substances that are introduced to that area. When you smoke, you’re releasing hundreds of toxic chemicals into your mouth – some do damage to your oral cavity while others absorb into your bloodstream to poison other parts of your body.
Tobacco is also one of the biggest causes of gum disease. The chemicals in tobacco smoke irritate and inflame the gums and the tissues that hold the teeth in position. For long term smokers, staining, tooth loss, and oral cancer, are likely consequences of not quitting.
Another controversial vice that will take its toll on your teeth and body is sugar and sugary junk food. Obesity rates are rising exponentially throughout Canada and many other countries are worse, so fast dietary solutions have become an epidemic. Sugary foods and fast foods are a vice that leads many well-meaning citizens to become obese. Not only do these highly-processed foods diminish your health, but they are also leading causes of dental problems.
Along with the acids found in food, sugar is the number one cause of cavities and tooth decay. The way sugar harms your teeth is by sticking to them and attracting harmful bacteria that feed on that sugar and eats away at your enamel. This happens as residual sugar and acid are left on the teeth after each meal. This clearly illustrates the way that sugar causes cavities and shows the importance of brushing and flossing your teeth each day.
We know that people like to enjoy a slice of cake or a drink or two once in awhile – it’s just important to be aware of the effect it has on your teeth and gums. Once you know how your favorite beverages and snacks affect your oral health, you can moderate their intake to ensure that you stay healthy and your smile remains bright and strong. Contact Mavis Dental Centre in Mississauga, Ontario today to see how we can enhance your smile!
Dr. Michael Luciani
Dentistry in the Village
115 Lakeshore Rd
Mississauga, Ontario L5G 1E5