Don’t Drink & Grind
If you drink several times a week or even just a glass of wine or two before bed, you might want to rethink that habit. While imbibing on a regular basis can expand your waistline and that glass of red wine can stain your teeth, doing either can cause far greater harm to your overall oral health.
Drinking alcohol may increase the chances that you’ll start grinding your teeth at night, according to studies.
A 2016 study published in The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) suggested that excessive alcohol use may lead to bruxism, or teeth grinding. In fact, the study indicated that alcohol almost doubles the chance that you’ll grind your teeth.
For the JADA study, researchers reviewed scientific literature and found seven studies indicating that overuse of alcohol, caffeine and smoking tobacco can cause people to grind their teeth at night. The studies included patient groups ranging in size from 51 to 10,000 and ages 18-55 years old. Researchers found that drinking alcohol nearly doubles the chance of bruxism, heavy caffeine consumption increases the odds 1.5 times and smoking tobacco more than doubles a person’s risk of teeth grinding.
Alcohol is not kind to your oral health because it’s acidic and can wear down tooth enamel in much the same way as sugary candy can do. But drinking alcohol also dries out your mouth. Saliva helps wash away bacteria after you eat. However, the acid in that after-dinner glass of wine softens tooth enamel for about 20 minutes after you drink. Make sure you don’t brush for at least 20 minutes after drinking to give your enamel time to build back up again.
Drinking before bed is not a good idea because it can also increase the possibility of bruxism at night. According to studies, alcohol before bed affects the part of the brain that is involved in sleep and makes it more likely that you will grind your teeth during the night.
Alcohol also can lead to more oral health problems because drinkers can develop a B complex vitamin deficiency. This leads to canker sores, burning sensations in the mouth, difficulty swallowing and swollen tongue. In addition, alcoholism puts you at risk for oral cancer.
If you experience problems with teeth grinding already, regular drinking can make it worse. Drinking can affect your quality of sleep, so if you’re tossing and turning and not sleeping well, it can result in a new habit — teeth grinding — or increase the habit if you already suffer from bruxism.
If you think you might be experiencing some symptoms of drinking and grinding, visit your dentist and find a quality mouth guard to wear at night that will protect your teeth. Visit www.sleepright.com to learn more.