It can even greatly increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer. One issue that is often overlooked, however, is the effects of alcohol on your oral health and how it can increase gum disease problems.
What is Gum Disease?Gum disease is an infection that affects the gums, jawbone and teeth. It begins as gingivitis, which affects only the gums, and if often unnoticeable. Bacteria cause some redness and inflammation, as well as bleeding when you brush and floss. Untreated, bacteria fall below the inflamed gum tissue and go to work attacking your jawbone and teeth, causing infections, gum recession and even tooth loss.
Effects of Alcohol on Oral HealthAlcohol has several effects on your oral health. Constant exposure to alcohol irritates sensitive gum tissue, which then causes it to become inflamed.
Alcohol tends to lead to dry mouth, as it impact's the body's ability to produce saliva. And saliva is essential as a natural defense against bacteria. A dry mouth provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, and the sugars found in alcohol provide food. Finally, too much alcohol is connected with poor oral hygiene practices.
Increasing Gum Disease ProblemsIf you have gum disease and drink alcohol, the alcohol can worsen the effects. Dry mouth, coupled with poor oral hygiene practices, means that the number of bacteria in your mouth is most likely high.
Alcohol also increases the inflammation in your gums, which means the gum tissue is pulling away from your teeth and allowing bacteria to fall underneath. Alcohol also affects your blood flow and slows healing, as important nutrients fail to make it to your gums to fight bacteria and promote healing.
Alcohol can have a negative impact on your oral health, and can worsen the effects of existing gum disease. Seeking treatment for gum disease and quitting alcohol will help to clear out the infection and allow your mouth to heal.
Please contact our office if you have any questions about alcohols effects on your oral health.