One More Reason to Quit the Bottle: Alcohol Increases Risk of Oral Disease

Cancer, heart disease, dementia—the list of diseases and poor health conditions caused by alcohol consumption continues. A recent study shows that alcohol changes the makeup of the mouth’s microbiome that could have effects on the whole body, making it susceptible to disease. Researchers from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City have found that alcohol creates an unstable microbiome in the mouth. Alcohol promotes bad, harmful bacterias and stunts the development of good bacteria. An imbalance in the microbiome causes oral decay and is related to oral diseases like cavities and periodontitis, better known as gum disease.  

Quit Alcohol to Improve Oral Health | Summerlin Dentist

Alcohol Puts the Whole Body at Risk

Gum disease and dental caries can potentially lead to diseases of the body like heart disease and gastrointestinal cancers. That’s why researchers have suggested that cutting down on the number of alcoholic drinks we consume could help to reverse or even prevent the damage caused by unhealthy oral microbiota. You might be thinking, “Well, I only drink wine, which is healthy right?” Or, “What if I only drink beer, not liquor?” These are excellent questions and the research so far doesn’t cover which types of alcohol are the most detrimental to oral microbiota.

Alcohol’s Relation to Dental Decay

Drinkers are more likely to have consistent growth of harmful bacteria in their mouths. At the same time, the body is unable to produce healthy bacteria which help prevent certain diseases like periodontitis and caries from taking hold. Bad bacteria collects, grows and produces tartar on teeth. Tartar is difficult to remove which is why it’s generally unaffected by daily oral health habits like brushing and flossing.

Reconstructive Dentistry for Alcohol-Related Dental Decay

Once dental decay takes hold and advances, reconstructive dentistry is often the best solution for restoring the strength and healthy appearance of your teeth or gums. For minor decay, teeth-colored composite fillings made of strong ceramic material can be used to improve the durability of your teeth and stop caries-causing damage. These can be easily shaped in your tooth and polished to look attractive. For more advanced decay, porcelain inlays or onlays can be easily shaped to your individual tooth and polished to restore its natural luster. Porcelain inlays and onlays also help to restore the strength to teeth that have been weakened by oral diseases.

While it’s unclear what kinds of alcoholic beverages are worse than others, it’s safe to say that a decrease in alcohol consumption is a smart oral health decision. If however, you feel that your drinking has already made an impact on the health of your teeth or gums, you’ll want to make an appointment with a reconstructive dentist. Call (702) 873-0324 or email our office, conveniently located in central Summerlin, in the Las Vegas area.