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Building better habits
Alcohol, tobacco and oral health: What you should know
It’s not just your liver and lungs that are compromised by alcohol and tobacco. Your mouth can also suffer.
Here are simple ways to improve your oral and overall health.
Cheers to a healthier mouth
When you drink alcohol, you make less saliva, which means cavity-causing plaque can stay on your teeth for longer.*
People with alcohol use disorder are more likely to:*
- Have higher plaque levels
- Experience permanent tooth loss – three times more likely
- Suffer from oral cancer – alcohol misuse is the second-leading cause
Here’s how you can limit alcohol’s impact on your oral health*
- Consider lighter-colored drinks to limit your exposure to chromogens, which stain your teeth.
- Avoid chewing ice or adding citrus.
- Get a dental check-up twice per year. That way, your dentist can clean your teeth and catch any issues when they’re still small. Be honest about your alcohol consumption.
- Drink water. It helps keep you hydrated and stop plaque from building up on your teeth. Plus, most tap water contains fluoride.
You can be tobacco-free
Smoking can cause:**
- Gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss
- Oral cancer
- Bad breath
- Tooth discoloration
- Leukoplakia (white patches inside the mouth)
- Loss of bone in the jaw
Tobacco in any form is damaging to your oral health** Vaping, chewing tobacco, cigars and pipes all pose similar problems. Quit today at smokefree.gov.
It’s a great time to schedule a check-up & focus on improving your children's oral health
What you eat may not only affect your general health; it may also affect the health of your mouth. And one of the biggest dangers is tooth decay, which is caused by plaque (a sticky film of bacteria that naturally forms on your teeth) and the food you eat. The bacteria in plaque feeds on sugar and starches found in your food. This forms an acid that attacks your tooth enamel, causing tooth decay.