December is usually a month of festivities… those work Christmas parties, catching up with friends and families – quite often over a glass of wine or a pint of beer, or two, or three. Let’s be honest, it’s the season for over indulgence. And it’s not just our waistlines that suffer. A 2016 study published in The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) suggested that excessive alcohol use may lead to bruxism, or teeth grinding. In fact, the study indicated that alcohol almost doubles the chance that you’ll grind your teeth.
For the JADA study, researchers reviewed scientific literature and found seven studies indicating that overuse of alcohol, caffeine and smoking tobacco can cause people to grind their teeth at night. The studies included patient groups ranging in size from 51 to 10,000 and ages 18-55 years old. Researchers found that drinking alcohol nearly doubles the chance of bruxism, heavy caffeine consumption increases the odds 1.5 times and smoking tobacco more than doubles a person’s risk of teeth grinding.
Alcohol is not kind to your oral health because it’s acidic and can wear down tooth enamel in much the same way as sweets can do. But drinking alcohol also dries out your mouth. Saliva helps wash away bacteria after you eat. However, the acid in that after-dinner glass of wine softens tooth enamel for about 20 minutes after you drink. Make sure you don’t brush for at least 20 minutes after drinking to give your enamel time to build back up again.
If you experience problems with teeth grinding already, regular drinking can make it worse. Drinking can affect your quality of sleep, so if you’re tossing and turning and not sleeping well, it can result in a new habit — teeth grinding — or increase the habit if you already suffer from bruxism.
If you suffer from night time bruxism and are in need of a solution, you should consider the F.O.S. splint – a a mouthguard worn at night that is a proven solution to night time clenching and grinding. Find a F.O.S. solution provider near you today.