Is Alcohol Bad For My Teeth?

Whether you drink a lot or a little, knowing how alcohol affects the body is important. We know about the detrimental effect on the liver, for example, but have you ever really thought about how alcohol can affect your teeth? Here’s a rundown on a few of the reasons why you may need to change your drinking habits if you want to keep your teeth healthy.

Drinking Alcohol Can Cause Tooth Decay

Depending on the sort of alcohol you’re drinking, it can contain more sugar than you realize. While spirits generally don’t contain sugar, mixing them with sodas or fruit juices in a cocktail can send the sugar content soaring. And sipping on strong drinks slowly means they stay in the mouth longer, encouraging harmful bacteria to grow.

If you’re worried about cavities and tooth decay, try swapping to drier wines instead of sweet and keep an eye on the sugar content on the label if you’re buying drinks in a store. Drinking water between alcoholic beverages will also help wash away harmful bacteria.

Alcoholic Drinks Can Stain Your Teeth

What other effects does alcohol have on your teeth? You may have noticed your lips becoming discolored after drinking red wine but consumption of dark colored drinks such as wine and dark beer can eventually stain the enamel of your teeth, too, leading to dullness of your smile that’s hard to get rid of. To counter this, remember to also drink water to dilute the effect of the deep colored chromogens and consider using a straw to limit the amount of tooth enamel the alcohol will come into contact with.

At the end of the night, remember to floss and brush your teeth thoroughly. There are many whitening toothpastes available that may help counteract staining from alcohol and you can check with your dentist to find out which ones they recommend.

Alcohol Causes Dry Mouth and Bad Breath

You may not think about the function of your saliva too much, but it’s an important factor in keeping your mouth healthy. Saliva washes away bacteria from inside the mouth and drinking alcohol decreases the amount of saliva you produce. This causes a drier mouth and an increase in bacteria on the surface of your teeth which then increases the likelihood of tooth decay. More bacteria in your mouth also leads to bad breath so do everyone a favor and help your salivary glands out with frequent sips of water and using some sugar-free chewing gum.

What to Do if Alcohol Has Damaged Your Teeth

Drinking alcohol in excess of recommended limits can be extremely damaging to your body and overall health. Please contact your doctor or a local support group if you are having trouble reducing your alcohol intake.

If consumption of high-sugar drinks has left your teeth and gums in a bad condition, or if drinking dark colored beverages has stained your smile, contact your dentist to see how they can help. Discovery Dental in Missoula, MT offers patients a variety of cosmetic and general dental treatments from fillings to teeth whitening to get your smile back in shape.

Are There Benefits to Chewing Gum?

If your parents always told you not to chew gum or you’ve heard horror stories about swallowing it, you may be surprised to learn that dentists are actually advocates for using chewing gum. Let’s find out more about the benefits of gum and whether you should be using it as part of your oral care routine.

Is Chewing Gum Good for You?

Humans have been using chewing gum in some form for hundreds of years so there must be some reason it’s stuck around. There are plenty of flavors and options out there but if you choose a sugar free chewing gum, this can actually benefit and improve your oral health.

  • Sugarless gum can help prevent tooth decay by increasing saliva when you chew it. Saliva washes away harmful bacteria in your mouth, so using chewing gum after a meal can be a beneficial step.
  • Tooth enamel can also be strengthened by chewing gum as the extra saliva it produces contains calcium and phosphates that your teeth need to stay healthy.
  • Look for chewing gum that contains xylitol, a natural sweetener. Not only can xylitol reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, it also helps keep your teeth healthy by neutralizing the acids produced by bacteria.
  • If you have bad breath (also known as halitosis), chewing gum increases your saliva and helps get rid of bacteria that cause your breath to smell. Choose a fresh, minty flavor for an extra helping hand!
  • The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends chewing gum and states: “Chewing sugarless gum has been shown to increase the flow of saliva, thereby reducing plaque acid, strengthening the teeth and reducing tooth decay.”

Can Chewing Gum Be Bad for You?

All this sounds great but can there be instances where you shouldn’t chew gum? Here are some examples of when chewing gum might end up being bad for your oral health:

  • Chewing gum that contains sugar is not good for your teeth. Because of its nature, chewing gum spends all its time in contact with your teeth so if it contains sugar, you’re increasing your risk of developing cavities and tooth decay.
  • If you have orthodontic work such as braces, give the chewing gum a miss. It can get stuck in your appliances and also cause damage to them. Similarly, constant chewing when you have crowns or fillings might also end up causing damage to your dental work.
  • Avoid chewing gum if you have TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder as it can put extra strain on your jaw and end up making the issue worse.

Chewing Gum Benefits Your Oral Health

If you’re looking to up your oral healthcare, try adding a piece of gum to your routine. Chewing on a sugar free piece of gum for around 20 minutes after a meal can help protect and strengthen your teeth and even combat bad breath. Look for the ADA Seal on a pack of gum to ensure you’re choosing one with the most dental benefits.

If you have any other questions about gum, bad breath or repairing teeth, feel free to contact your dental office. Patients in Missoula, MT and surrounding areas can call Discovery Dental for the most up to date dental technology and techniques in a welcoming and relaxed environment.

What Are My Denture Options? Fixed Implant vs. Removable

Dentures have come a long way since the cliche of a grandparent putting their teeth in a glass of water by the bedside table at night. These days patients have the options of traditional removable dentures and also fixed or removable dentures by way of dental implants. What do these terms mean and which is the right option for you?

What Are Implant Dentures?

If you have a missing tooth, the most effective treatment is to replace it with a dental implant. If you have many missing teeth, or one or both arches need replacing, dentures fixed to dental implants may be the way to go.

In this case, your dentist will place several dental implants into your jaw to replace the roots of the missing teeth. A fixed or removable denture, or false teeth, can then be attached to the denture implants, creating stable, natural looking and functional teeth replacements.

Removable Implant-Supported Dentures

If you are already used to traditional removable dentures, upgrading to denture implants might be a good move. For an upper arch, dentists will usually place 4 to 6 denture implants to ensure a strong anchoring point for the dentures. A full arch replacement is also known as an “All on 4” restoration, where a denture is attached to 4 implants.

For lower jaw dentures, as few as two implants can be used, depending on the patient. The prosthetic teeth are then attached to the implants via a bar attachment which allows for removal and also gives them the nickname of “snap-on dentures”.

Why Choose Removable Denture Implants?

  • May be more cost effective than fixed denture implants.
  • Allow for a more natural feel than traditional dentures that cover the palate.
  • Removable dentures are easier to clean and care for.
  • If your bone density can’t support fixed implant dentures, removable implant dentures may be a viable option.

Fixed Implant-Supported Dentures

As the name suggests, fixed implant dentures are not meant to be removed by the patient and are permanently attached to the dental implants. In this way, patients can brush and care for their dentures as if they were real teeth.

Fixed denture implants are also called “screw-retained dentures” as the prosthetic teeth are attached to the implants via a screw, meaning they are extremely stable and not removable.

Why Choose Fixed Denture Implants?

  • Look and function like natural teeth
  • No need to remove prosthetics to clean them
  • Patients can forget they have dentures

Are Denture Implants Right For Me?

To see which type of implant dentures are right for you, schedule an appointment with your dentist. If you’re in Missoula, MT and surrounding areas, contact Discovery Dental Group for cutting-edge dental solutions in a welcoming environment.

How Long Do Veneers Last?

Veneers are a great fix for all kinds of cosmetic dental issues, from covering misshapen, crooked, stained or gappy teeth to giving you a brighter, more even looking smile. Before you spend your hard-earned money, however, you may want to do some research on your investment by finding how long veneers actually last.

What are Veneers?

Veneers are thin shells of a material such as porcelain or ceramic that are bonded to the front surface of a tooth or teeth. After a consultation, your teeth are prepared by removing a small layer of enamel and your veneers will be created and fitted in a later visit. Veneers look like your natural teeth, only better!

Types of Veneers

Ceramic or porcelain veneers are the most common types. Each material is durable, easy to color match to the rest of your teeth and resistant to staining. They have their pros and cons, though, and at Discovery Dental, porcelain is most likely to be recommended. Here’s why:

  • Porcelain is the more durable material, so will generally last longer than ceramic veneers.
  • It is stain resistant.
  • It is translucent, giving a more natural look.

How Long do Veneers Last?

Depending on the type of material and care taken, veneers can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years and sometimes even longer. Let’s break it down.

How long do ceramic veneers last?

While they are durable, ceramic veneers are not generally as long lasting as porcelain veneers. You can expect a ceramic veneer to last around 10 years.

How long do porcelain veneers last?

Porcelain veneers are currently the dentist-preferred material for their natural look and durability. With care, a porcelain veneer will last up to 15 years.

It’s not unheard of for ceramic or porcelain veneers to last even longer than this, sometimes 20 years or more! To ensure a long life for your veneers, it depends on what risk factors you encounter, what you eat and drink and your oral health routine and habits.

Let’s see how you can make your veneers last for as long as possible.

How to Care for Veneers

Here are our top tips to care for your veneers:

  • Visit your dentist A regular visit to the dentist can spot any potential issues your veneers might have before the issue gets worse.
  • Brush and floss with care A veneer covers the front surface of a tooth but you will still need to make sure you’re brushing and flossing every day. Even though porcelain is stain resistant, it will get discolored over time if not properly cared for. When flossing around a veneer, try pulling the floss all the way through the gap between teeth, not yanking it downwards.
  • Avoid damaging your teeth It sounds obvious but to extend the life of your veneers, do not do things that can damage them. This includes biting your fingernails, crunching ice, biting into hard or sticky food with your front teeth and doing things like cutting tape with your teeth. Also, use a mouthguard if engaged in contact sports and ask your dentist about a custom night guard if you’re showing signs of bruxism or teeth grinding.

What Type of Veneers Are Right for Me?

Whether you need a single veneer or a row, schedule a consultation with your dentist to see what options they can offer. Patients in Missoula, MT and surrounding areas can contact Discovery Dental for expert smile design and guaranteed results.