Binge-drinking students more likely to forget to brush their teeth
Students who binge drink are more likely to forget to brush their teeth before going to bed, a new study has found.
The study, published in the Journal of Periodontal Research, looked at the gum health of over 800 students and found that those who drank large quantities of alcohol were more likely to miss brushing their teeth, resulting in a higher incidence of gum disease.
‘I don’t think it is unfair to say that a large proportion on students in the UK like a few drinks and are probably aware of how this affects their general health, especially when they wake up the next day, but they probably overlook the very harmful effects this can have on their dental health,’ Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said.
‘The start of the university year in particular is a time that students need to ensure they look after themselves as cheap alcohol deals during “fresher’s week” can lead to excessive drinking.
‘Forgetting to brush after drinking can lead to some serious problems for their teeth, something they probably don’t want to deal with whilst trying to find their way in their studies.
‘Thankfully maintaining a healthy mouth and preventing these problems is a relatively easy thing to do.’
Useful tips for students
One of the main oral health threats from heavy drinking comes from the sugar content found in alcohol.
Excessive alcohol can also cause dehydration, a side of effect of which is dry mouth; this is potentially harmful as there is less saliva within the mouth.
‘With more than two million students currently getting ready to head to university across the country we are trying to make them aware of what they can do to look after their teeth a little better,’ Dr Carter added.
‘All alcoholic drinks are bad for oral health due to their sugar content; a general rule though is that the higher the sugar contents the worse the effect of dental health.
‘Therefore, any mixers with high sugar levels such as energy drinks or cola mixed with spirits are very dangerous to your teeth; if possible it is advised to avoid these or choose a low calorie alternative to mix these drinks.
‘Using a straw to drink will help to minimise the length of time that the drink is in contact with the teeth and could offer more protection against decay or acid erosion.
‘Once you get home do not brush your teeth straight away, you need to wait for one hour after the last drink to allow the enamel to re-mineralise and prevent brushing away any loosened particles.
‘After this time has passed you should brush and floss your teeth before going to bed.’