You might assume alcohol consumption only affects your body, but this is a common misconception. The reality is that alcohol’s effect on teeth can lead to serious problems related to your gum health. Periodontal disease is one of the most common problems seen by dentists throughout the country, so to shed some light on how alcohol and your soft oral tissues are connected, a local dentist explains the research and what you can do to combat this problem before it even begins.
What is the Link Between Alcohol and Gum Disease?
It is believed that individuals who drink alcohol excessively are more likely to have less “good” bacteria inside their oral cavity and more of the bad bacteria that cause gum disease. These harmful “microbiomes” were found in the relatively higher numbers of patients who declared themselves to be “heavy” drinkers. However, other factors can often influence the microbiome of a person’s oral cavity, including their diet and how well they maintain good oral hygiene.
Generally, the higher levels of bad bacteria a person has inside their mouth, the greater their risk for gum disease, tooth decay, cavities, and serious cancers.
How to Minimize Your Risk for Gum Disease
If you enjoy settling down with a glass of wine each night, or you prefer to spend your paychecks downing a few beers with your friends on a Friday night, you may want to reconsider your lifestyle habits. Drinking too much alcohol not only inhibits your overall health and well-being (i.e., brain functionality, gut health, sleeping patterns), but it will also cause you to experience problems with your gums. To avoid this, you will need to do the following:
- Limit your alcohol consumption. Do not drink daily but instead on special occasions
- Maintain a good oral hygiene routine that includes brushing, flossing, and rinsing
- Keep your regular six-month dental checkups and cleanings
- Avoid snacks and beverages full of sugars and starches and trade them for healthier alternatives like fruits and vegetables
- Inquire about mouthwash that is designed to combat gum disease
- Talk to your dentist about gum disease treatment should you exhibit signs of plaque and bacterial accumulation
Don’t let your desire to throw back a few drinks cause you to lose sight of the importance of good oral health. Having a drink or two now and then is fine, but you must make sure you’re doing your part to avoid an attack on your soft oral tissues if you want to ensure the future of your smile.
About the Author
If you’re looking to take back your oral health, Dr. Douglas Baldwin and the team at Foundation Dental Solutions can help. Offering preventive services designed to detect problems early on and help patients better maintain healthy teeth and gums, Dr. Baldwin can deliver the results you need to feel good about your smile. When faced with gum disease, he can provide periodontal therapy designed to remove accumulated plaque and bacteria while improving the health of your soft oral tissues. Contact us at (817) 478-4300 to learn how we can better assist in your oral healthcare journey.