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Does Drinking Alcohol Hurt Your Gums?
While drinking a glass of wine or a beer with dinner is acceptable, people who abuse alcohol could be at a higher risk for gum disease and other dental problems, including oral cancer.
In 2015, Brazilian researchers published a study in the Journal of Periodontology, which found that drinking alcoholic beverages could be detrimental to your gum health and could make existing periodontal disease worse.
One of our main goals at David Crumpton, DDS is to educate our patients and give them information about habits that can put them at risk for disease.
How Alcohol Affects the Gums
Even though there is no definitive scientific proof, there is ample evidence, as shown in this study, that alcohol consumption affects the health of your gums. More information is needed to say that without a doubt, alcohol can produce periodontal disease or make it worse. However, the subjects studied by the Brazilian researchers who did not have periodontal disease saw an increase of bleeding gums, an early sign of periodontitis.
The drinkers in this study also showed gum detachment levels of 4mm or higher, a sign of moderate to severe periodontal disease. Additionally, drinkers showed more plaque than non-drinkers in this study. This could be explained because alcohol slows down the production of saliva, which could result in a dry mouth that is prone to produce more substantial amounts of plaque. Saliva is the mouth’s natural defense against acids that produce plaque.
Plaque that is not removed only encourages more build up that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. This, in turn, causes deep pockets between the gums and teeth, where the bacteria collect and grows damaging the soft tissue and the tooth's structure.
Preventing Gum Disease
In the case of alcohol and your gum health, the best thing to do is use moderation when consuming alcoholic beverages. Maintaining good oral hygiene habits at home and getting your teeth cleaned professionally twice a year or as often as recommended by our dentist is the best prevention.
The statistics in the United States are alarming, and the levels of people who suffer from gum disease have reached epidemic proportions. One of every two adults over the age of 30 suffers from gum disease. These instances are higher than those who have diabetes. Periodontal disease can put you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
One of the most devastating consequences of periodontal disease is tooth and eventual bone loss. According to recent data, approximately 35 million adults in the U.S. are missing all their upper or lower teeth. While there is new technology that allows you to get devices such as dental implants relatively smoothly, there is nothing better than to keep your teeth for as long as you can. These treatments can be expensive and require multiple visits to our office.
If you have additional questions about how alcohol affects your gum’s health, we at David Crumpton, DDS are here to help you, and you can call us 817-678-7395 or visit our office anytime and one of our staff will be happy to assist you.