How Does Alcohol Impact My Oral Health?

April 18th, 2020

Alcohol in moderation may not be harmful, but excessive alcohol use can leave a damaging effect on your entire body, in particular your brain, heart, liver, immune system and oral cavity! Several studies have reported alcohol as a risk factor for oral and other cancers, heart disease, and liver cirrhosis, just to name a few diseases. In fact, alcohol acts as a depressant of the central nervous system, and with heavy usage overtime can even lead to memory loss and impaired cognition.

Many organizations linked with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) bring awareness, especially in the month of April during Alcohol Awareness Month, to important resources and information on alcohol consumption. This includes the causes of alcoholism, the signs and effects, how to communicate with a loved who is facing a drinking problem, and available treatment options. This is even significantly important during the current pandemic, as individuals struggling with alcoholism may be at an even greater risk during COVID-19.

In the United States, over 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder, with only 8% of the individuals receiving treatment. Alcohol use has also been reported to take the lives of approximately 4,700 teenagers each year, which is more than all illegal drugs combined. In addition, according to a study in The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in 2018, about 27% of individuals 18 years and older reported binge drinking, which is classified typically as 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men in approximately 2 hours. The statistics surrounding unhealthy alcohol can be overwhelming, and many organizations and communities are joining together to help spread awareness about alcohol addiction and the dangers of alcoholism in order to help protect and save lives!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate alcohol use is classified as 1 drink a day for women, and no more than 2 drinks a day for men. In terms of your oral health, the CDC reports that alcohol dependence is the 2nd most common risk factor for oral cancer. Plus, heavy drinkers tend to have higher dental plaque levels, increasing their risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. It was also found that heavy drinkers are 3 times more likely to experience permanent tooth loss.

Alcohol can even lead to dry mouth making you feel dehydrated, which creates even more problems. A lack of saliva can cause bad breath, also known as halitosis, and increase your chance of developing cavities as saliva helps to remove dental plaque and neutralize acids caused by oral bacteria. Plus alcohol can stain your pearly-whites. Beer and wine, for instance, are acidic and the dark colors can discolor your tooth enamel. It is important to brush your teeth after waiting at least 30 minutes after the consumption of alcohol to avoid harming your tooth enamel which is weakened by the acidic content of the alcohol.



If you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism, know that this is not a fight that has to be done alone. For help with alcohol addiction, please check out these resources with 24/7 availability.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.







Do you wake up breathless?

July 13th, 2016


Do you often feel sleepy or fatigued throughout the day for no reason? Or snore loudly and wake up short of breath in the middle of the night? Then you may experience sleep apnea, a condition that stops your breathing periodically while you sleep (up to 20-30 times per hour).

When you stop breathing, your brain wakes you up due to the lack of oxygen in order to restart your breathing. Many people don't remember waking up in the middle of the night, so they think they're getting enough sleep but end up feeling drowsy during the day.

Sleep apnea, a serious medical problem, can lead to high blood pressure, which increases the risk for heart failure and stroke. The drowsiness during the day can be dangerous for driving or cause complications with medications or surgery.

Some symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
  • loud snoring
  • waking up breathless
  • snorting or choking sounds
  • headaches when waking up
  • falling asleep unintentionally during the day
  •  extreme drowsiness throughout the day

The three types of sleep apnea are:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) (due to collapsing of soft tissue in the back of the throat)
  2. Central sleep apnea (CSA) (muscles don't receive proper brain signal)
  3. "Mixed" or "complex" sleep apnea (combination of obstructive and central)

Risk factors include:

  • OSA is more common in males and in older adults (40+)
  • obesity
  • smoking
  • drinking
  • using tranquilizers/sedatives
  • family history
  • heart disorders
  • neuromuscular disorders
  • strokes
  • brain tumors

Treatment options:

  • losing weight
  • stop smoking
  • sleep on side instead of on back
  • oral devices
  • surgery (if severe)

Please contact our office so we can refer you to a sleep apnea specialist if you suspect that someone you know suffers from this medical problem.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.



How Much Water Should I Drink?

April 15th, 2014

womandrinkingwaterWe are all made up primarily of water.  In fact, about 60% of our body weight is water.  Water is crucial in the proper functioning of all of our physiological systems from flushing out harmful toxins to facilitating the travel of nutrients from one location to another.  We are constantly losing water through processes like sweating, breathing, and excretion.

The Institute of Medicine advises men to drink about 3 liters (13 cups) of water daily while women should drink about 2.2 liters (9 cups) of water daily.  Another way to calculate how much water you should drink, is to use the "half your body weight" rule.  For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink half that number in ounces (75 ounces of water).  One cup is defined as 8 ounces of water.  So, a 100 pound person should drink about 9.4 cups of water daily.  However, these guidelines for adequate intake of water will varying depending on individual lifestyles.  For example, an athlete that is constantly exercising or a person that lives in a hot, humid environment will need more water on a daily basis.  Intuitively, this makes sense.  You are losing fluids and electrolytes more quickly as you sweat more.

Surprisingly, thirst and dry mouth should not be used as accurate indicators of when to drink.  In fact, once you already feel these symptoms, your body is already dehydrated.  Dehydration can lead to a host of negative symptoms including: fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and weak muscles.  One effective way of determining whether or not you are drinking enough water is to examine the color of your urine.  A dark yellow color indicates dehydration while a clearer, lighter color indicates proper hydration.

The wide-range of benefits of drinking water are well-known.  Research has shown that sufficient water intake results in a better balance of body fluids, weight loss, healthier looking skin, and better bowel function.  Water is also beneficial for your teeth.  Water can wash away food debris and acidic residue left behind on teeth which keeps saliva levels high.  High saliva levels are necessary for combating cavities.  Furthermore, water can dilute high-sugar drinks and mitigate some of its harmful effects.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.


Image credit: http://www.wellness.uci.edu/images/womandrinkingwater.jpg

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