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Dental Surgeons of Ontario
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Healthy Drinking Guidelines

Drinking is a personal choice. If you choose to drink alcohol these guidelines can help you decide when, where, why and how.

Guidelines #1

Reduce your long-term health risk by drinking no more than:

  • 10 drinks a week for women with no more than two drinks a day most days.
  • 15 drinks a week for men with no more than three drinks a day most days. 

Plan non-drinking days every week to avoid developing a habit.

Guideline #2

Reduce your risk of injury and harm by drinking no more than three drinks for women and four drinks for men on any single occasion.

Plan to drink in a safe environment. Stay within the weekly limits outlined in Guideline 1.

Guideline #3

Do not drink when you are:

  • driving a vehicle or using machinery and tools.
  • taking medicine or other drugs that interact with alcohol.
  • doing any kind of dangerous physical activity.
  • living with mental or physical health problems.
  • living with alcohol dependence.
  • pregnant or planning to be pregnant.
  • responsible for the safety of others.
  • making important decisions.

Guideline #4

If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breast feeding, the safest choice is to drink no alcohol at all.

Guideline #5

If you are a child or youth, you should delay drinking until your late teens. Talk with your parents about drinking.  Alcohol can harm the way your brain and body develop.

If you are drinking, plan ahead, follow local alcohol laws and stay within the limits outlined in Guideline 1.

What does ‘a drink’ mean?

  • 12 ounce bottle of 5% alcohol beer, cider or cooler
  • 5 ounce glass of 12% alcohol wine
  • 1.5 ounce serving of 40% alcohol distilled spirits


  • Set limits for yourself and abide by them.
  • Drink slowly.  Have no more than two drinks in any three hours.
  • For every drink of alcohol, have one non- alcoholic drink.
  • Eat before and while you are drinking.
  • Always consider your age, body weight and health problems that might suggest lower limits.
  • While drinking may provide health benefits for certain groups of people, do not start to drink or increase your drinking for health benefits.

RCDSO Wellness Consultant

Dr. Cunningham is available for addressing assessment and treatment needs of dentists by helping them find suitable assessors, treatment providers and residency programs. Click here for more information on how to contact Dr. Cunningham directly.