What’s the Relationship Between Alcohol and Gum Disease?

August 13, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — drdevlin @ 7:10 pm
Friends drinking beer

Plenty of people enjoy meeting up with their friends for a couple of alcoholic beverages after a long week of working hard. Having a little bit too much once in a while doesn’t usually have lasting damages, especially if you are healthy otherwise. However, if you drink heavily on a regular basis, you are putting yourself at risk for a wide variety of different issues in different areas of the body. This includes cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, mental health issues, and anemia. As for your smile, there is a link between heavy alcohol consumption and periodontal disease. Continue reading to learn more from your dentist about how alcohol can increase your risk of developing gum disease in State College.

What Is Considered “Heavy Drinking?”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heavy drinking is usually defined by the number of drinks you consume per week. This is different for men and women. For men, heavy drinking is consuming 15 or more drinks per week. For women, this is defined as consuming eight or more drinks in a given week.

This isn’t the same thing as binge drinking, which generally consists of a man drinking five or more drinks on a single occasion or a woman consuming four or more drinks. This takes place within two hours and is likely to bring the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08% or more.

How Does Heavy Drinking Contribute to Periodontal Disease?

A new study suggests that people who drink more than the daily recommended limit of alcohol are more likely to harbor an unhealthy mix of bacteria in their mouth. It has been found that compared to nondrinkers, people who drink relatively heavy tend to have fewer “good” bacteria and more “bad” bacteria in the mouth.

One way that alcohol contributes to gum disease is by causing dry mouth. Drinks that contain higher percentages of alcohol, like spirits, are more likely to cause this. Saliva is necessary in order to wash away food debris, plaque, and bacteria from the teeth. It also neutralizes harmful acids that can contribute to the number of bacteria in the mouth. Essentially, if you have dry mouth, you are more likely to have overgrowths of bacteria and eventually, periodontal disease. This often requires help from your dentist in State College.

When it comes to winding down after a busy week or celebrating an exciting event, moderation is key! Not only will your smile thank you, but so will the rest of your body.

About the Author

Dr. Chris J. Devlin provides a wide array of services at his practice in State College, PA. He earned his dental degree from the University of Pittsburg School of Dental Medicine and is committed to expanding his knowledge through continuing education each year. He is associated with Dawson Academy, the Pankey Institute, and The Society of Dental Anesthesiology. For more information on keeping your smile healthy or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (814) 238-3553.

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