The modern world, with all of its stresses and temptations presents us with so many things to put in our mouth to make us feel better. Whether it’s alcohol, tobacco, or even Medical Marijuana prescribed by your doctor.
While alcohol boasts few health benefits (such as the occasional glass of red wine, which has been proven to reduce heart disease), tobacco has zero, and marijuana has been proven to help a number of conditions, such as anxiety and glaucoma, it’s important to remember that these substances still pose a very real risk to your oral health.
Here at our dental practice in Garden Grove California, we realize that all of these drugs are perfectly legal (given the right set of circumstances, ranging from simple age to a doctor’s note), however, enjoying these substances in moderation can help prevent a number of conditions ranging from tooth loss to gum disease.
The Effect of Smoking and Alcohol on Your Teeth
Tooth loss and gum disease
Tobacco is often seen as a leading cause of both tooth loss and gum disease. What many smokers don’t know is that tobacco and nicotine constrict the capillaries of your gums. By reducing bloodflow to your gums, this impacts how the bone attaches to your teeth and their soft-tissue, which can contribute to gum disease.
For many patients who regularly consume alcohol, tooth decay is a very real threat. This is because most alcoholic drinks contain a fair amount of sugar and acid, both which are substances that actively eat away at the enamel of your teeth — which is the first step of tooth decay.
Nocturnal Grinding and Clenching
Bruxism, also known as “Tooth Grinding” can lead to the extreme wear and abrasion that can impact your bite, lead to broken teeth, contribute to cracks, and impact your overall oral health. While many substances like Marijuana and Alcohol can cause grinding, the dry mouth often associated with marijuana also tends to exacerbate the damage of bruxism.
Staining and bad breath
Smoking of every kind can contribute to stale, bad breath and the buildup of tartar. Tartar is the building block of plaque and tooth decay — which ultimately can lead to cavities, tooth loss, and a wide variety of dental problems.
Oral Cancer from Smoking and Alcohol
It is well known that tobacco contains a number of carcinogens and is one of the leading causes of mouth, throat, and lung cancer. By excessively consuming alcohol and smoking tobacco and marijuana, you put yourself at a much greater risk for oral cancer. For this reason, it’s important to remain aware of the non-smokable forms of these substances, but remember — chewing tobacco (“dip”) is no healthier for your mouth than smokable tobacco.
Are you worried about how a substance abuse problem or smoking habit may be impacting your oral health? Our family dentists in Garden Grove are discrete, compassionate, and dedicated to helping you keep your teeth white, healthy, and long-lasting.