Teeth implants? More brushing? Less mouthwash? Almost everyone who enters recovery to get sober wants to focus on improving their appearance. Look better – feel better is the refrain often heard in rehab programs.

Teeth problems aren’t the sole domain of us heavy drinkers though.

Some people can drink “normally.” Whatever that means.

For most people, having a drink is an easy way to relax. Maybe through partying and dancing the night away with a beer, or just a relaxing weekend with a glass of wine while hitting the Netflix buffet. Regardless, people use alcohol to loosen up and disregard the many dangers. Alcohol, whether consumed normally or heavily, affects the body. One often overlooked consequence are the teeth.

Staining

In a recent study, experts found that the smile is a person’s most important feature. Teeth staining is caused by wearing the enamel down. Once a tooth’s enamel is gone, it’s gone. There’s no bringing it back, and with each drink, the alcohol reduces the enamel’s lifespan.

Decay

Along with staining comes tooth decay. Alcohol consumption boosts the acidity in the body and starts to chew away at the teeth and gum lines leaving them sore. The teeth are also eroded after a late-night party, and the drinker throws up. Acid reflux is another factor which hastens tooth decay and acid reflux increases with alcohol consumption.

What to Do?

Many people ignore the risks of alcohol and its effects on oral health. “People don’t realize how much damage alcohol causes,” says Dr. Cohen, an implant specialist. “The fact is people learn quickly about other affects of drinking, but they don’t know what it’s doing to their teen.”

According to ADA Dental Health Report, about 75-percent of adults admit to not brushing their teeth after an alcohol-inspired night. For 8 hours after drinking, the teeth are being eaten away.

Available Options

Sip your drink through a straw, so the liquid flow is directed into the mouth minimizing contact with teeth and gums.

Chewing sugar-free gum will help self-cleanse your mouth as it kills bacteria.

Don’t use mouthwash for at least an hour after drinking. The body is still processing the influx of acid in the mouth, and swishing with mouthwash just makes the enamel softer even as you add more acid-based substances into the mix.

Dental implants are the last resort, but they are an option. If your teeth enamel has been so eroded that your appearance has become a detriment to your self-esteem, implants can be an option.  A dental implant is a medical fixture that is set into the jawbone and permitted to blend with the bone over the spread of a few months.