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The holiday season brings many get-togethers and parties, and with them typically come opportunities for drinking alcoholic beverages. Before you drink alcohol, you should be aware of its effects on your teeth, gums, and overall health.

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it cues your body to release too much fluid, and you can get dehydrated. Dehydration leads to headaches, reduced brain function, and irritability, along with a host of other bodily problems. Alcohol also dries out your mouth by reducing saliva production, and that can lead to higher rates of tooth decay. To combat these issues, make sure you drink a lot of water when drinking alcohol.

In addition to drying you out, some alcoholic beverages (and dark soda mixers such as cola drinks) can stain your teeth. Red wine, beer, and dark sodas all contribute to browning or yellowing of the enamel. Limit your consumption of these beverages, and be sure to accompany them with water to rinse them away from teeth. Brushing your teeth about 20 minutes after drinking them can help reduce tooth stains (brushing right after drinking acidic beverages such as alcohol can actually scrape up tooth enamel). Try chewing sugarless gum for the 20 minutes between drinking and brushing. This increases saliva flow and cleans teeth.

For more information on the effects of alcohol, call Sunshine Dental Group in El Monte, California, at 626.579.4274. Dr. Jorge de la Osa and our team look forward to helping your smile shine bright this holiday season! Please drink responsibly!