Alcohol, both in beverages and mouthwash, have effects on a person's oral health. Alcohol in beverages has been known to cause staining.
The color in the beverages penetrates the outer layer of the tooth's enamel and then binds with it causing a discoloration of the teeth. Alcohol is doubly effective at staining teeth because of its acidity which breaks down the enamel as well. Another side effect of drinking alcohol is not to do with the alcohol itself, but with what you may use in it to keep it cool.
Often, people will chew the ice in their alcoholic drinks causing damage to the teeth, so it is recommended to avoid chewing ice. Besides staining and potential physical damage, beverages higher in alcoholic content like wine and spirits cause the mouth to dry. This may not seem like that big of a problem at first, but saliva plays an important role in the health of your mouth.
Saliva not only helps digest food when eating, but also it helps the mouth to remove harmful bacteria from the surfaces of teeth. After some time with a dry mouth, the harmful bacteria in your mouth have the ability to reproduce more quickly ultimately making your teeth more susceptible to their deteriorating effects.
What About the Alcohol in Mouthwash?
It is a common misconception that the alcohol in mouthwash is used to kill the bacteria inside of your mouth. The alcohol in mouthwash does not have the ability to destroy the bacteria, rather it is used to carry flavoring and sensation agents like a mint flavoring and a tingly menthol. The ingredients that actually destroy mouth bacteria are known as eucalyptol and thymol.
Alcohol in mouthwash can have some of the same effects as the alcohol in beverages, namely dry mouth. If you are always battling a dry mouth, staying away from mouthwashes which contains alcohol in them is important as they could exacerbate the problem.
There are many non-alcohol containing mouthwashes on the market which can be effective for people with chronic dry mouth. However, changing mouthwashes may not solve the problem of your dry mouth, and the problem could be deeper than a change in mouthwash. If the problem persists, please schedule an appointment with us so that we may discuss the cause, and maybe, the benefits of an alcohol free mouthwash.