Although most young people know that moderate consumption of alcohol is better for their health, many are unaware of the high levels of sugar and acid in alcohol and the juice, soft or energy drinks in which it is mixed. Excessive regular intake will significantly increase the risk of dental decay and tooth erosion which washes away the tooth structure. Even diet or ‘zero’ options contains very high levels of acid.

Worse still is the acid content of the stomach that enters the mouth when one vomits, an unfortunate but not uncommon accompaniment for many young people on a night out.

Regardless of the number of drinks you have, it is a good idea to drink plenty of water and try to match each alcoholic drink with a glass of water afterwards to dilute the effects of acid and sugar. You might even feel better the next day!

Brushing your teeth straight after having a drink of alcohol or vomiting will strip away more of the enamel, as it is weak and softened by the acids. It is important to wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth. Chewing gum or rubbing toothpaste onto the teeth with a finger will help protect the vulnerable teeth.

Alcohol Fuelled Violence

In 2012 the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital saw 394 people in their trauma clinic as a result of interpersonal violence, an estimated 75% of these cases had alcohol as a significant contributing factor. Alcohol-fuelled violence is steadfastly increasing, not only taking a huge personal toll with people left debilitated by horrific facial and brain injuries but also adding stresses to the already over-burdened hospital emergency departments. Time and time again we see the fatal consequences of alcohol-fuelled violence, such as the case when 18-year-old, Thomas Kelly, was king hit in an unprovoked attack while in Sydney’s Kings Cross with this girlfriend.

Recently, Brisbane Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Dr Anthony Lynham (who many of you may already know from having had wisdom teeth removed) has been actively campaigning against alcohol-fuelled violence. In recent media interviews, Dr Lynham says that as a consultant surgeon at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, he spends most Mondays dealing with the trauma and piecing back together the faces of the victims of alcohol-fuelled violence that occurred over the weekend. Dr Lynham and many others have voiced their concerns in a news.com.au campaign called “Real Heroes Walk Away”.