There’s no question that illegal drugs are illegal for a reason; they harm your body and brain in more ways than you’d want to count. But there are also a number of commonly used substances that have a negative effect on oral health, and you might not even be aware of them.

In this article, we’ll take a look at three commonly used drugs: caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, and discuss how these socially widespread substances can wreak having on your teeth.

For more information on drug use and oral health, please reach out to White Smiles Family Dentistry in Albertville, MN.

Caffeine and Teeth

Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, with an estimated 450 millions cups of coffee consumed every day in the U.S. alone. But despite its popularity, coffee and most caffeinated beverages have a very high acidity content. This means that the enamel on your teeth is weakened by drinking them.

On top of that, dark drinks like coffee and black tea are major causes of yellowing of the teeth. Although it’s great to enjoy lattes in moderation, be cognizant of how many caffeinated drinks you’re consuming, and be sure to brush your teeth one hour after drinking them. Brushing your teeth too soon after consuming coffee can actually cause more enamel erosion than it contributes to dental protection!

Alcohol’s Impact on Teeth

Depending on the kind of alcohol you consume and in what quantities you drink it, your oral health will be affected in different ways.

Those who opt for red wine, hard cider, or beer should be wary that, like coffee, these beverages are highly acidic. This causes the enamel on your teeth to weaken and degrade until it eventually falls off. You can’t replace or regenerate tooth enamel naturally. And when the enamel has diminished, you can expect to experience heightened sensitivity and pain in your mouth. 

Don’t think that you’re any safer if you go for hard liquor instead. Vodka and whiskey, two of the most commonly consumed liquors, are much higher in alcohol by concentration compared to drinks like wine and beer. Since alcohol dehydrates the body, drinking a lot of these liquors can cause dry mouth and prevent your mouth from getting the proper moisture and lubrication it needs to get rid of germs and food particles. 

Lastly, it probably goes without saying, but many mixed drinks and cocktails are packed with sugar. Whether it’s the natural sugar from cranberry juice in a cosmopolitan, or the maraschino cherry added as a garnish to an old fashioned, try to limit your intake of these sugar bombs. As any good dentist will tell you, this is a surefire way to cause dental decay and cavities.

Tobacco and Oral Health

The third and final drug we’ll assess for its impact on oral health is tobacco. Nicotine is the primary chemical in tobacco responsible for making it so addictive, so once you start smoking or chewing tobacco, it can be extremely difficult and unpleasant if you try to stop. However, if you use either of these substances, it’s a good idea to try to quit or, at the very least, to cut back on consumption.

Tobacco has been scientifically linked to a greater likelihood of developing gum cancer, as well as weakening your immune system and causing the disease to progress more quickly. Smoking cigarettes also makes it more difficult to receive dental treatment in the future. If at some point you need a bridge or an implant, the surrounding teeth may be too weak to support these prostheses, and your overall oral health will continue to degrade as a result.

You might think that chewing tobacco is a safer option because it’s smoke-free, but this is far from the case. Chewing tobacco has consistently been associated with increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and numerous cancers, including esophageal, colon, and even bladder cancer. 

Your Dentist in Albertville

If you want to maintain your oral health, it’s best to minimize or completely cut out drugs like alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco. Whether you abstain completely or cut back is up to you, but regardless, you should have a clear and consistent dental hygiene routine to increase the likelihood of prolonged success in your oral health. 

For more information on how to best care for your teeth, gums, and overall oral health, please reach out to White Smiles Family Dentistry, the local dental clinic that families and individuals in Albertville trust!