causes of gum disease symptomsDo you enjoy having the occasional drink? It’s well known that acidic drinks and sugary snacks are bad for our teeth, but a recent report offers valuable insight into why you should care for your teeth and gums if you consider yourself to be a regular alcohol user. Brazilian researchers have discovered that the consumption of alcoholic beverages can have a negative effect on the health of a person’s teeth and gums, and can also increase the risk of developing periodontal disease, as well as aggravate existing cases of periodontal disease.

Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease affects one of every two Americans who are 30 and older; the statistics behind this disease shows that it is 2.5 times more prevalent than diabetes. This means that periodontal disease is no laughing matter, especially since it may also be linked to other systemic conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and strokes!

Recently published in the Journal of Periodontology, the study titled “Alcohol Consumption and Periodontitis: Quantification of Periodontal Pathogens and Cytokines” assessed 542 regular alcohol users, occasional drinkers, and non-drinkers; both with and without periodontitis.  Research conducted in the past has indicated that a drinker is more susceptible to developing periodontal disease, because poor oral hygiene is a typical trait among most alcohol users. During this study, researchers discovered that the severity of an alcohol user’s current periodontitis correlated incrementally with the rate of her or his alcohol consumption. In addition, these individuals were also required to have additional periodontal treatment. Even regular drinkers who did not have periodontitis faced an increased incidence of bleeding gums, which is a common symptom of periodontal disease. Also, these regular drinkers even exhibited a higher presence of plague in their mouths compared to their non-drinking counterparts.

According to Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, MPH, president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), the topic of the use of alcohol and its effect on periodontal health requires further research. However, it does offer valuable insight into why we should care for our teeth and gums, more so if you enjoy the occasional drink!