Irish or not, most Americans will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in some form this upcoming weekend and on Sunday. St. Patrick’s Day is often celebrated by wearing a bunch of green, maybe attending a nearby parade, and oftentimes, drinking beer that is dyed green – it’s no surprise St. Patty’s Day is the nation’s biggest drinking holiday.
While the team at our Glen Mills dental office is all for enjoying the day responsibly, there are a few things about drinking green beer and your dental health that you should know about before channeling your inner Irishman or Irishwoman this upcoming weekend.
If you aren’t already aware, beer, in general, is quite acidic. While different types of brews have different acidity levels – darker beers, such as Guinness (a St. Patrick’s Day favorite), have more than their lighter counterparts – all beer puts your smile at risk. When large amounts of acid are introduced into the mouth, the protective layer of tooth enamel can potentially begin to wear away. Without this protective barrier, teeth may become increasingly sensitive and even appear less bright, clean, and white.
Not-So-Lucky Tooth Discoloration
In addition to enamel erosion, excessive drinking can cause your teeth to become yellow over time. Dark Irish stouts, porters, and even fruity drinks can increase the risk of tooth discoloration. And as you can imagine, that green dye put in beer doesn’t make it any better – anyone up for a smile that is temporarily stained green?
Every year, dentists across the country see a spike in emergency visits following St. Patrick’s Day. Emergencies, like missing or broken teeth, have patients all over rushing to the nearest dentist. In fact, a study revealed that the average increase in emergency dental visits is 64 percent on the first business day after St. Patrick’s Day. The cause of these dental emergencies? Perhaps a little too much green beer…
In addition to smoking and poor dental hygiene, drinking alcohol excessively, beer included, leaves your mouth exposed to loads of sugar that these types of adult beverages contain. When sugar and bacteria combine they form a sticky film known as plaque. While plaque can be removed through regular brushing, poor dental care will cause the plaque to harden into tartar. Tartar can block your toothbrush from properly cleaning your teeth and mouth, especially along the gum line. Tatar leads to an increase in bacteria, which will damage gums and increase the chance of gum disease. nice!
Protect Your Smile On St. Patty’s Day
You can help protect your smile from the side effects of drinking beer on the largest drinking holiday by first enjoying it in moderation. Alternating a beer with a glass of water will help rinse away excess sugars and acid that would otherwise be free to cause damage to the teeth. Additionally, even though it’s festive, try to stay away from the green-dyed stuff. Even though it is temporary, a green stained smile is no fun.
If your smile is feeling in rough shape after a day of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, the dentists at Brandywine Smile Center has the best remedies to whiten your teeth! With dental cleanings and teeth whitening, we help many patients revitalize their smile. We use KoR teeth bleaching, a professional teeth whitening system in which a powerful gel and bleaching light are used to whiten teeth quickly. Not only can teeth be whitened in-office at our Glen Mills and Chadds Ford dentist, but we also provide customized trays and bleaching gel to use at home.
If it’s been a while since your last dental appointment, or if you notice some leftover green tint on your teeth following your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, give our dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.