St Patrick’s Day is when the whole world becomes Irish, donning green, celebrating in the streets and partaking in Ireland’s unofficial national drink: beer. In the spirit of the Irish, many people indulge in drink, bonding with friends and strangers alike and taking the chance to be a bit merrier.
We love St. Patrick’s Day as much as anyone else, but since we are dedicated to preserving healthy smiles we want to help you celebrate the day while knowing what beer can do to your teeth. Knowing how the drink can impact your oral health and how you can care for your teeth will help you party-on responsibly.
Your Teeth and Beer
Beer may not taste sweet, but there is a surprising amount of sugar in every pint. The colour of the beer, it’s carbonation and it’s sugar content all lead to undesirable effects on your teeth. A couple beers won’t leave a noticeable residue, but throwing them back indiscriminately will leave you with a sludgy smile.
Your teeth are covered in a layer of firm enamel that protects the softer, sensitive underlying structures. The acidity of beer can erode this enamel, permanently weakening your teeth. Once your enamel is worn away there is no getting it back. Beer is an acidic drink, and multiple beers will do a number on your teeth’s protective coating.
As mentioned above, beer is a sugary drink. Like soda, candy, dried fruit and processed foods, beer in excess wreaks havoc with its sugar content, combining with your mouth’s bacteria to result in plaque. Without proper maintenance, plaque leads to a firmer substance called tartar and can result in gum disease. Gum disease and overall inflammation are risk factors for other serious illnesses within your body, such as heart disease.
Brushing twice daily with a clinically proven toothpaste can alleviate plaque buildup, but chances are that on St Patrick’s Day tooth brushing isn’t the first thing on your mind. Make sure that when you return home (at whatever hour that may be) you brush your teeth thoroughly, rinsing away whatever film remains on your teeth.
Between sugars, plaque and enamel erosion, your teeth are in a weakened state while drinking beer. This means that you probably shouldn’t attempt any beer-related stunts using your teeth, such as opening bottles. Doing so might look cool and demonstrate your amazing resourceful nature to your friends, but it will also likely result in a chipped tooth. Our teeth chip easily when taking on a harder substance than what they’re composed of. Over the course of our lives, our teeth become weakened and sensitive, and less able to take on opponents such as bottle caps and tin cans. Use a bottle opener, the side of a table or your bare hands; just leave your teeth out of it. You’ll save yourself possible pain and a dentist bill that could have been avoided.
Whatever beautiful colour you admire in your beer, whether it be tarry black, amber or pale blonde, expect it to leave its mark on your teeth. The colour compounds in beer are called chromogens, which attach to tooth enamel and result in unsightly stains. Be sure to clean your teeth thoroughly when you get home from the bar.
Sometimes things can get out of hand on a day like St. Patrick’s Day, so it’s important to note that stomach acid severely erodes tooth enamel. Don’t drink too many beers to the point that your stomach rebels against you, because it could hurt both your reputation and your smile.
Here are some things you can do to protect your smile during and after a fun St. Patty’s Day celebration:
Counteracting the colour and acidity of beer with water keeps you safe, mitigates hangovers and rinses out your mouth. This is one of the easiest measures to take to preserve your pearly whites while enjoying yourself with friends.
Brush and Floss Often
We don’t expect you to take a toothbrush and floss with you to the bar, but be sure to use both upon returning home. Don’t go to bed with beer-flavoured tooth sweaters.
Visit Your Dentist
Your dentist can tell you with expert detail just what the state of your oral health is, identifying gum disease, cavities or other more severe dental issues. If you feel like St Patty’s Day has done a number on you in more ways than one, a visit to your dentist probably isn’t a bad idea.
St Patrick’s Day is one of our favourite “holidays” of the year. It’s silly, joyous and brings people together for some light-hearted fun. Enjoying a beer or two can be a fun tradition, but the more informed you are about beer and its impact on your dental health, the better decisions you can make in the heat of the moment. Take care of your teeth so you have a beautiful smile for years to come. Not only is a healthy smile beautiful, it’s pain-free and indicative of your overall wellbeing.
For more oral care tips or to book your next dentist appointment, call Dawson Dental at 1-877-542-2043 or contact us here.