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During Alcohol Awareness Month in April, take time to learn how alcohol impacts your mouth, gums, and teeth. Understanding the effects alcohol can have on your oral health is essential, as it can help you make more informed choices when it comes to drinking.
According to the USDA dietary guidelines for Americans1, adults of legal drinking age should limit intake to two drinks or less in a day for men and one drink or less in a day for women. One drink can be defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor like gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey.
Consuming alcohol causes your body to become dehydrated, which can lead to dry mouth. Without enough saliva in your mouth, bacteria are more likely to cling to tooth enamel and create the perfect environment for gum disease and cavities. Gum disease, or periodontitis, is characterized by bleeding gums, plaque, gum recession, infection, and the development of pockets where the gums pull away from the teeth. If not treated, gum disease can contribute to tooth loss.
Alcohol contains cavity-causing sugar, much like soda or juice, and is also acidic, as are many of the citrus fruits commonly used to garnish cocktails. Even small amounts of sugar and acid can erode tooth enamel, making you more susceptible to cavities and other oral health conditions.
Along with practicing moderation, here are some tips for keeping your smile healthy.
1 U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.
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*All TruAssure dental plans, other than Basic and Preferred dental plans, are offered in association with the DenteMax Plus dental network arrangement, which includes participating dentists from the United Concordia, DenteMax and Connection dental networks in all states but North Carolina, where the DenteMax Plus network arrangement includes DenteMax and Connection dental networks. TruAssure Basic and Preferred dental plans are offered in association with the DenteMax dental network.
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