Every March, people throughout the United States and Ireland celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday is enjoyed by drinking beer and wearing green, but it can be a hazard to your dental health.
The day after the festivities end, dentists see an increase in dental emergencies. More than two-thirds more people have dental emergencies due to St. Patrick’s Day. Because people are in public and getting drunk, they are not paying attention to their bodies. Therefore, they have a tendency to get their teeth knocked out.
If you find yourself with a tooth that is loose or completely knocked out, you should visit your dentist immediately. Before you go, you need to retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth), and rinse off the tooth root with water if it's dirty. If possible, try to put the tooth back in place. Make sure it's facing the right way. Never force it into the socket. If it's not possible to reinsert the tooth in the socket, put the tooth in a small container of milk (or cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk is not available) or a product containing cell growth medium, such as Save-a-Tooth. Dentists have the greatest opportunity to save your teeth if returned to your socket within one hour of being knocked out.
Drinking too much alcohol, especially large amounts of beer, will cause you to dehydrate. In the mouth, this means you will have temporary or long-term dry mouth. Without your saliva, you will have trouble maintaining your oral and dental health. You could get an oral yeast infection. Drinking water will counter the effects of the alcohol. Therefore, you can alternate water with your beer.
When you consume a colored drink, you run the risk of staining your teeth. Dark particles in the drink get on your tooth enamel. Dark beer can stain your teeth because those darker beers are made with roasted barley or black patent malt. If you drink malted beers a lot over your life, your teeth could become gray, blue or yellow. Green beer can give your teeth a green tint with a few drinks. To minimize staining, you can go for lighter-colored beers without artificial coloring. You want to stop sipping your drink for hours at a time. Gargle with water at the end of your St. Patrick’s Day experience.
St. Patrick’s Day isn’t all bad for your teeth. Beers could actually help fortify your teeth, according to recent research. A 2011 Cambridge University study on women with osteoporosis found that beer could help reinforce and even regenerate bone tissue. Beer contains both “ethanol, which prevents bone loss” and “absorbable orthosilicic acid, which encourages the growth of new bone.” You might want to stick with ale because it is less processed and refined, allowing for higher concentration of silicon. The hops in beer also has been shown to have properties that are good for teeth.
Before you visit your favorite pub on St. Patrick’s Day, remember that celebrating is great until something happens. If you control your alcohol intake, drink water and pay attention to the color of the beer, you could have fun while ensuring your dental health will not suffer. You want to take these precautions to heart. Otherwise, you might be giving your dentist his or her pot of gold.
I'm just your average hygienist with a passion for excellence. I do what I do best, which is to help my patients achieve healthy smiles and provide & educate them with oral health care solutions and lifelong cosmetic procedures.