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How Alcohol Impacts Gum Disease
Posted on 11/16/2020 by Gwinnett Dental Implant & Periodontal Center
Like smoking cigarettes, abusing alcohol is another risk factor for developing gum disease. Not only does excessive alcohol consumption lead to gum disease in the first place, but it can increase the severity of periodontitis as well.
Alcohol Dries Out the Mouth
Our saliva is very important for keeping our mouths clean. Saliva helps remove plaque and bacteria from our teeth, keeps our mouths moist, and prevents tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. It also contains enzymes that are crucial for digesting food. Alcohol dries out your mouth and disrupts saliva production. Upsetting the natural balance of your saliva leads to a decrease in “good” bacteria and an increase of “bad” bacteria in your mouth, which in turn contributes to tooth decay, infection, and gum disease.
You may think that alcohol in mouthwash is safe, but even the alcohol found in mouthwash is a harsh drying agent. Regular use of alcohol-based mouthwash can have similar effects on saliva production as drinking alcohol excessively, and it can also damage your mouth's soft tissues.
Long-term Effects of Alcohol Abuse On Oral Health
In addition to contributing to the development of gum disease, drinking alcohol in excess (defined as consuming more drinks per day than the recommended daily limit) can also make existing gum disease worse. Not everyone with gum disease will experience bleeding gums, but alcohol consumption makes this symptom more likely. Alcohol consumption will also exacerbate burning mouth syndrome and tooth sensitivity, and can even cause mouth sores.
Long-term alcohol abuse has serious consequences for your oral and overall health. Other than being linked with an increased risk of severe periodontitis, abusing alcohol also increases your risk of developing oral cancer, head and neck cancer, certain digestive cancers, and heart disease. To learn more about the link between alcohol and your oral health, contact our office today.