Over the holidays, many of us tend to drink more alcohol than usual. It often comes along as part of the usual social scene. Spending time with friends and family often come along with drinks, whether it’s wine with dinner, cocktails in the evening, or beers while enjoying the football or basketball games. But at the end of it all, we can find that we’re feeling the negative impact.
That’s why dry January, a complete month off from alcohol, is becoming a more popular choice. People want to take the time to let their bodies recover from the additional stresses of holiday drinks. Now a new study shows that taking this month off can have long-term health benefits for people. What the study doesn’t mention, but is also very important, is that dry January can be good for your teeth, too.
Save Money, Lose Weight, and Sleep Better
The study released by the University of Sussex showed that people who participated in dry January experienced many benefits. Almost everyone who participated (93%) had a sense of achievement. This went along with about 80% of people reevaluating and feeling in more control over their drinking.
And most people (88%) saved money by going a month without drinking. Experiencing generally improved health, sleeping better, and losing weight were other common benefits (70%, 71%, and 58%, respectively).
The data also showed that benefits weren’t limited to January. People who participated in dry January were still seeing benefits in August, with drinking days per week dropping from 4.3 to 3.3. They also consumed less per drinking, day, down to an average of 7.1 units from an average of 8.6 units. Note that these are relatively heavy drinkers: four glasses of wine equals 8.4 units, according to the unit calculator associated with dry January. Those who participated in dry January also saw their frequency of getting drunk drop from 3.4 times per month, to just over 2 times a month.
Why Dry January Can Be Good for Your Teeth
Holistic dentistry reminds us that everything we take into our body has the potential to impact our teeth and oral health. Alcohol can be very bad for your teeth.
Alcohol can significantly dry out your mouth. When your mouth is dehydrated, you produce less saliva, which makes it easier for harmful oral bacteria to flourish. And these oral bacteria can do more damage to your teeth without saliva to buffer their acids.
Alcohol can also tip the balance of oral bacteria in your mouth, allowing disease-causing bacteria to increase their numbers when compared to helpful oral bacteria. The problem is especially bad for heavy drinkers.
But it’s not just the alcohol that’s the problem. It can also be the things that come along with it. Wine, for example, is very acidic, which can eat away your tooth enamel. Many liquors are also acidic, especially when mixed with citrus. And many drinks contain high levels of sugar and other simple carbs that oral bacteria thrive on.
Giving up alcohol for a month, and reducing or even quitting permanently can be very good for your oral health.
Looking for a Dentist Who Takes a Holistic Approach to Dentistry?
Dentistry is about more than just looking at your teeth for cavities. Preventive dentistry involves looking at many aspects of your daily life, and finding the ones that tend to increase your risk of cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. Taking this comprehensive approach helps us practice minimally invasive dentistry, to keep your teeth healthy without need for restorations.