St. Patrick’s Day is often celebrated by wearing a bunch of green, maybe going to a parade, and oftentimes, drinking beer. Sometimes bars and restaurants even go the extra mile by dyeing their beer green to enhance the festive feeling. While the team at our dental office in McMinnville is all for enjoying the day responsibly, there are a few things about beer and your dental health that you should know about.
It may surprise you to know that beer is quite acidic. While different types of beer have varying levels of acidity – darker brews having more than their lighter counterparts – it’s all potentially dangerous to your grin. When large amounts of acid are introduced into the mouth, it begins to wear away the protective layer of tooth enamel. Without this barrier, teeth may become increasingly sensitive and even appear less vibrant and white.
Enamel erosion is only one potential reason your teeth may be looking a bit discolored. Drinking excessively may also cause your teeth to yellow over time. Dark stouts and porters, along with fruity beers, are the biggest culprits to beer related tooth discoloration. However, the food coloring used in beer on St. Patrick’s Day can also temporarily stain your smile a not-so-lovely shade of green.
You’ll typically hear us talk about the main causes of gum disease being poor dental hygiene or tobacco use, but those aren’t the only contributors. Drinking alcohol in excess, beer included, leaves your mouth exposed to the loads of sugar found in these types of beverages. When sugar and bacteria unite they form a super sticky film known as plaque. This plaque can be removed through regular brushing, but if you forego brushing, it will harden into tartar. Tartar can block your toothbrush from cleaning all the nooks and crannies, especially along the gum line. This means bacteria is free to do as it pleases, including damaging gums and causing gum disease.
You can help protect your smile from the side effects of drinking beer by first enjoying it in moderation. Alternating a cup beer with a glass of water will rinse away excess sugars and acid that would otherwise be free to damage teeth. Of course, we also recommend seeing your dentist in McMinnville twice a year and brushing and flossing every day.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve been to the dentist, or you see some leftover green tint on your teeth following your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, give our dental office in McMinnville a call to schedule an appointment today.