Drinking a cold beer could intensify the pain, but the drink causes no harm to an abscessed tooth. Beer offers no benefits for a bad tooth, either. If you're suffering from an abscessed tooth, the infection could worsen and spread to other parts of your body unless treated. The consequences of ignoring a dental abscess could include disfigurement or life-threatening illness. See your dentist instead of relying on alcohol to dull the pain.
Abscesses form because of gum disease, decaying food lodged between your teeth, or physical damage such as cavities or breaks. Deep cavities or fractures that expose a tooth's pulp allow bacteria to get inside of a tooth. If a severe toothache disappears on its own, the nerve inside your tooth might have died. When infection spreads to the bone around the tooth, an abscess forms and pain resumes. As bone dies, the pain could temporarily ease. Untreated abscesses could enlarge and burst out through your neck or face. Bacteria from the abscess could enter your bloodstream and infect your brain, heart or lungs.
Two qualities of your favorite beer could trigger increased pain in an abscessed tooth. Beer's slight acidity could irritate tissue already inflamed by the infection. The cold flow of beer across an abscessed tooth could cause intense pain. Your dentist checks a tooth's condition by directing a cold jet of air or water against your tooth. The slight change in pressure as the tooth contracts causes immediate pain in an infected tooth. Either hot or cold beverages cause the pressure change. Warm drinks cause less pain, but the characteristic throbbing pain of an abscessed tooth continues even without external stimulation.
If you take pain medication for your tooth problem, avoid all alcohol. Until your health returns to normal and the medicines leave your system, you risk serious complications by drinking any alcoholic beverage. Heavy doses of acetaminophen, or Tylenol, could damage your liver, and drinking alcohol increases the risk. Overuse of aspirin or ibuprofen could cause stomach ulcers, and drinking alcohol aggravates the damage. Any of the three pain relievers could cause gastrointestinal bleeding if mixed with alcohol. If you habitually drink large amounts of alcohol, either acetaminophen or aspirin places extra stress on your already-damaged liver.
To temporarily ease the pain of an abscessed tooth, rinse your mouth with a warm glass of salt water instead of cold beer. See your dentist as soon as possible if you notice any of the symptoms of tooth abscess, such as a pimple-like swelling at the base of the tooth, fever, and spontaneous throbbing tooth pain. A foul taste and unpleasant breath odor also accompany infection and tooth decay. Your dentist might prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection. Keep your follow-up appointment even if the pain stops because without a root canal or an extraction, the infection will return.