Mixed DrinksDentally speaking, is drinking alcohol a good thing or a bad thing for your teeth and gums?

As with everything alcohol related, there are positives and negatives. On one hand, a mixer-free shot of vodka is probably less hazardous than caramel candies, which coat the teeth with a sticky goo that practically begs for cavities. On the other hand, every kind of alcohol—most notoriously drinks with sugary mixes—are chock-full of their own types of sugar.

Sugar is the main source of energy for plaque bacteria, and these bacteria are the villains that cause tooth decay. As plaque bacteria process sugar, they produce a variety of acids as metabolic by-products; some of these acids go to work immediately to dissolve the teeth.

Cutting back on any source of sugar and replacing it—with raw fruits and veggies, unsalted nuts and popcorn—can make a difference to your mouth.

Alcohol and Your Life

Drinking is too fundamental a component of our culture to be ignored.

A champagne toast to the bride and groom are at one end of this spectrum; a weekend binge by irresponsible children resulting in tragedy and death are at the other. As with so many things in life, balance lies somewhere in between.

Regarding alcohol, perhaps the most balanced advice would be: if you don’t drink, don’t start. If you do drink, know your limits. If you’re exceeding your limits, seek help now!