St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland. So now that it’s safe to go walk about, what’s one to do? Celebrate! A toast to the Saint and the Irish usually involves green beer.
Green beer (in moderation} is harmless enough. However, if you are in the process of whitening your ivories or very recently had them whitened, this is not a good idea. The opened pores in the enamel may just stain your teeth green. So will the other foods you’ve been told to avoid with the whitening process.
Let’s be honest, hoisting one for the spirit of the day is fine, but do I have to have green teeth afterwards?
Thinking about the fruits of the grape, rye and other grains leads one to muse. Plainly put, how bad can alcohol consumption be? Is there a risk to the oral tissues from long term immoderate imbibing?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Chronic alcohol consumption may lead to changes in the upper respiratory and esophageal tracts. It has been known for years that there is a greater risk for head and neck cancer, especially if cigarette smoking is added to the volatile mix.
Changes may be seen in the salivary gland functions. These may lead to increased cavities and gum disease. Saliva is crucial in buffering the acids produced by the cavity causing bacteria. It also contains immune system components that control bacteria in the mouth.
If the carefully controlled balance of the saliva’s contents is changed. There may also be an increase in pathologic microbes which can cause chronic infections. Gum disease or periodontitis is a chronic infection that has had a lot of press recently about its correlations to serious body wide diseases.
While we’re on the subject of alcohol, many mouth washes contain alcohol. They have been in used since at least the 1920’s. The benefit is debated. There are some studies that show that the tissues of the mouth change (DNA damage), but they are equivocal. Nominal risk of cancer is present. Value as an antimicrobial is also debated by some research. So using alcohol containing mouthwashes should be done with prudence.
All this having been said, enjoy St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrate, but drink responsibly!