The fourth Thursday in July is National Refreshment Day. This holiday might not have been around for a long time, but it is the perfect day to celebrate during the dog days of summer. Launched in 2015 by Traveler Beer Company, it’s a day to slow down, cool down, and throw down a couple of ice-cold beers.
Of course, while beer — as well as other alcoholic drinks — are tasty, they can also seriously damage your teeth. Here are a few ways you can protect your pearly whites if you decide to imbibe on this little-known holiday.
The first thing you might think of when considering alcohol and oral health is sugar. And it’s true — alcohol does tend to have high sugar content, making it a potentially damaging drink for your enamel and gums. But there is a second, equally concerning aspect to how alcohol affects your oral health. It causes dehydration, which decreases the amount of saliva you produce. Since saliva is your mouth’s first defense against bacteria, a lack of it means that you are more likely to develop cavities and other oral problems.
Thankfully, the best way to minimize this damage is simply to stay hydrated. For every alcoholic drink you have, you should also have an eight-ounce glass of water — that’s just water, no ice.
Choose dry drinks over sweet ones.
This one might seem pretty self-explanatory, but it bears repeating. Alcohol contains a lot of sugar. Well, to be more accurate, wine and liquor contain sugar, although light beer contains less than half a gram of sugar, and regular beer contains none at all. But other types of alcohol can be extremely hard on your teeth due to their sugar content.
Wine is a big culprit. Not only is it much higher in sugar than beer, but red wines tend to stain the enamel, leaving your teeth discoloured. While regular dry wines have lower sugar content, dessert wines like sweet reds can have as much as eight grams of sugar per serving. For this reason, it may be better to choose a drier option.
Use whitening toothpaste.
If you like darker alcoholic drinks like dark beers and red wines, you may find that they tend to stain your enamel. The good news is that that doesn’t necessarily mean your teeth will be noticeably purple after a night of drinking. The bad news is that it does mean long-term effects like discolouration and a dull appearance.
If you plan on drinking a dark-coloured alcoholic drink, consider switching to a whitening toothpaste that will remove stains from your enamel. In the meantime, you may want to consider switching to a different drink or cutting back on how often you drink. After all, cutting back on alcohol improves the health of many different parts of your body, not only the mouth!
As long as you take care of your teeth, there’s no harm in an occasional drink. This Thursday, crack open a cold drink and enjoy! 🍻