Gum disease is a fairly common condition, so much so that 1 in 2 U.S. adults will experience it in their lives. It’s no surprise, then, that various things can cause this infection, including poor oral hygiene, genetics, and more. However, did you know even alcohol consumption can be a contributor? Namely, drinking too many beers, wines, and cocktails might trigger the disease. If you want to know more, your San Diego dentist can help you. Read on to learn how alcohol and gum disease relate and tips on preventing the latter.
How Alcohol & Gum Disease Relate
In recent years, studies have found that heavy drinkers are more likely to get gum disease. More specifically, drinking heightens the condition’s risk factors and worsens its symptoms.
This connection stems from how alcohol changes your “microbiome” — the microbes that dwell in your body. You see, heavy drinking leads to fewer “good” bacteria in your mouth and more “bad” ones instead. In fact, the latter bacteria is linked to gum disease, heart disease, and cancer.
Furthermore, alcoholic drinks might cause plaque buildup too. That’s not a good thing, as plaque is a cause of gum disease, tooth decay, cavities, and receding gums.
Gum Disease Prevention Tips
Given the facts, one good way to prevent gum disease is to have less alcohol. In particular, avoid having more than one or two drinks daily.
Of course, there are also other ways you can curb gum infections. These practices include the following:
- Practice Good Oral Hygiene: As you always should, brush your teeth twice daily and floss them once daily. That way, you’ll reduce the plaque and food debris stuck in your mouth.
- See Your Dentist Regularly: Professional cleanings and routine exams can prevent issues like gum disease. As such, try to see your dentist every six months or so for dental checkups.
- Avoid Bad Oral Habits: Smoking weakens your immune system, so it also raises your risk of gum infection. For that reason, you’re better off quitting the habit.
- Eat & Drink Well: Instead of sugary foods that irritate gums, try eating mouth-healthy things like lean proteins, leafy greens, dairy products, etc. You should also drink water rather than sodas, especially since the former reduces harmful bacteria and plaque.
While alcohol can trigger gum disease, it doesn’t have to cause problems for your gums. As long as you practice moderation and the other tips above, the pink tissue should be fine.
About the Author
Dr. Greg Friedman is a dentist in San Diego, CA, having graduated from Washington University’s School of Dental Medicine. He’s also a member of both the American Dental Association and the California Dental Association. Given this background, he specializes in preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry, as well as periodontal therapy. Dr. Friedman currently practices at Mod Squad Dental and is reachable on his website or by phone at (858)-547-0070.