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Does Alcohol Increase Your Risk of Gum Disease?

March 21, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — mdg_team @ 2:05 pm
Three cocktails arranged on countertop

Do you like to enjoy an occasional glass of wine or cocktail? Many people do. While sipping on adult beverages in moderation is not usually harmful, it is important to think about the consequences of overdoing it. Not only can overconsumption of alcohol put your head-to-toe wellness at risk, but it can also prove detrimental to your oral health. Does alcohol increase your risk of gum disease? Read on to learn more about this important topic.

How Alcohol Affects Your Mouth

When you drink alcohol, it inhibits the production of a chemical in your body known as ADH. ADH is responsible for regulating how much urine you excrete. Therefore, drinkers tend to pee large amounts and suffer a degree of dehydration. The dehydration can, in turn, reduce the production of saliva and lead to a dry mouth.

A dry mouth is the ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Without saliva to wash them away, such bacteria can multiply and lead to an increase in dental plaque and a heightened risk of infection in the gum tissue (gum disease).

It is also worth bearing in mind that many alcoholic beverages are highly acidic and include a lot of sugar, both of which can contribute to gum problems and other oral health problems.

What Does the Research Say?

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Periodontology assessed the habits and oral health of 542 people. The subjects included non-drinkers, occasional drinkers, and regular drinkers. Some of them had periodontitis (advanced gum disease), while others did not.

The study found that alcohol users with periodontitis experienced a decline in their condition that was correlated with the amount they drank.

The research also highlighted the fact that even among people without periodontitis, drinking worsens oral health. Drinkers were more likely to have large pockets between the teeth and gums, more gum bleeding, and higher amounts of plaque on their teeth.

Preventing Gum Disease

Should you completely abstain from alcohol in order to protect your gum health? Not necessarily. In fact, small amounts of red wine might actually benefit your smile because it contains polyphenols, chemical compounds that may help to ward off gum disease and tooth decay.

The key to drinking without compromising your gum health is moderation. Enjoy alcohol in small amounts. Normally, women should not have more than one alcoholic beverage a day, while men should limit themselves to two servings.

Here are some additional steps you can take to protect your smile:

  • Drink some water to rehydrate yourself after you consume alcohol.
  • Brush your teeth about 30 – 60 minutes after you finish a drink. This is especially important if your beverage contained a lot of juice, sugar, or other sweet substances.
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for a checkup.

Alcohol can contribute to poor gum health! Be careful about how much you drink so you can maintain a sound smile.

Meet the Practice

The experienced team at Meriden Dental Group takes pride in helping patients enjoy healthy smiles. We offer both preventive care and treatment for gum disease. If you have questions about how you can protect your gums, we would be pleased to talk with you. Contact our office at 203-404-6800.

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