Is alcohol good or bad for your teeth?

Findings seem very controversial, and the verdict is still undecided. While having some obviously negative aspects, there are some positive things as well, and alcohol in and of itself does not destroy tooth enamel. But alcoholics frequently have bad teeth, so the clinical findings seem a bit untrustworthy. Clearly there is a correlation between alcoholism and tooth decay. But what about moderate drinking? Is it a risk factor? If it okay? What should we be on the lookout for if we like a glass of chardonnay with dinner but are otherwise healthy? Here is some of the conflicting information about alcohol and its effects on your dentition. 

Antibacterial properties

Alcohol obviously has some antibacterial properties, hence its use as a topical disinfectant. But aside from a topical disinfectant, does it have any deeper antibiotic properties, when swallowed for example? The answer is no, it does not. Alcohol destroys any and all living organisms that come into contact with it, thus it is a topical disinfectant and an antibiotic as such, but it does not help with clearing up bacterial infections in the mouth. But it will kill any and all bacteria that reside in the mouth in the very moment it enters the mouth, so it is antibacterial, in a way.


A recent study in South Korea has concluded that non-smokers who drink alcohol are at heightened risk for periodontal disease. The alcohol dries out your gums and causes them to be less able to resist a bacterial infection. Those who regularly drink were reported as having poorer periodontal health. 


We know that having a hangover draws calcium from your bones and teeth. While alcohol does not dissolve tooth enamel, the body does draw on its calcium resources in order to deal with alcohol in the system. This can cause your bones and teeth to demineralize if you drink alcohol on a regular basis.


The problem with alcohol is not that it slightly raises the likelihood of demineralization or of periodontitis, for sugary snacks, smoking cigarettes and a whole host of other activities that do not have the same stigma that alcoholism has can also amount to the same problems, and in fact are much worse for your teeth. The main problem is that drinking on a regular basis brings about an unhealthy lifestyle, one in which many aspects of dental health are neglected, and this is why the teeth and bones of drunkards are in the miserable state that they usually are in. Flossing is difficult with a raging hangover, and if you only have hours between a hangover and the next bout of being drunk, taking care of your teeth will simply not be a priority. Vomiting is also a problem, as many people have stomach problems who drink, and vomit dissolves the tooth enamel. Aside from this, alcoholism can lead to metabolic diseases like diabetes and indigestion which are bad for your teeth, and this is why alcoholism is indirectly bad for your teeth. If you are suffering from alcoholism, get help as soon as possible. Despite our societies acceptance of drinking and even problem drinking, alcohol is a drug, and alcoholism is directly analogous to drug addiction.

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