A Hangover and a Toothache: Why Your Teeth Ache the Morning After Alcohol

A heavy night on the town can lead to a morning of suffering—in more ways than one. Aside from the usual after effects such as headaches and sluggishness, alcohol can also cause your teeth to ache. If you have woken up after a recent night out to find that you have a toothache as well as a headache, this is likely due to one of the following factors.

Alcohol Causes Bruxism

After consuming a significant amount of alcohol, your sleep patterns are disrupted. When your sleep is disturbed, your jaw muscles will hyperactivate, causing your teeth to grind against each other. Not only does this damage your teeth and gums, but it also leaves you with a full mouth toothache as well as a hangover.

Alcohol Dehydrates Your Teeth

It is a well-known fact that alcohol causes dehydration. This is why people who consume a large amount of alcohol the night before wake up with a dry, furry mouth. However, alcohol also dehydrates your teeth. Your teeth contain microscopic tubules full of liquid and nutrients.

When you drink a large amount of alcohol, some of this liquid is lost. This leaves teeth feeling painful and more sensitive to temperatures and acid than usual. This is why it is important to rehydrate after a night out. You'll wake up feeling better and your teeth won't suffer.

Brushing After Alcohol Strips Away Enamel

Alcoholic beverages such as wine, champagne and whiskey to name just several, are acidic. That means that when you consume them, their acidic properties soften the enamel of your teeth. While in this softened state, touching or brushing your teeth is not advisable. If you brush too soon after alcohol, you will strip away the softened enamel of your teeth.

This will not just cause short-term sensitivity. It will also leave your teeth more prone to cavities and chipping or cracking injuries. Wait at least until 20 minutes have passed before you brush your teeth after consuming alcohol.

Alcohol Irritates Cavities

If you have a cavity or a damaged filling or crown, for example, some alcoholic beverages may irritate these areas. This could also be a cause of your tooth pain. If you suspect this is the case, make sure you thoroughly examine your mouth to find the cause. Broken fillings can be replaced easily, however, a broken crown is more difficult, especially if the tooth beneath it has decayed.

A toothache the morning after alcohol indicates that you need to change your after-alcohol habits. Try to plan ahead, for example, leave a bottle of water at your bedside and by the bathroom sink. Otherwise, you face a morning of toothaches and headaches! For more information, contact a dentist.