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The Connection Between Drinking and Gum Disease

Posted on 2/13/2017 by Dr. Dennison
A close up of a patients mouth suffering from gum disease.
You may enjoy the occasional drink at happy hour after work. Perhaps you like to have a glass of wine with dinner once in a while.

While enjoying alcohol in moderation isn't a problem, too much of it can actually cause, or worsen gum disease, an otherwise easily preventable infection that, when left untreated, can cause severe damage to the gums, teeth and the jawbone.

Alcohol Irritates Gums

The gums are made of soft, delicate tissue. Your saliva helps to keep this tissue moist and protected. Alcohol can lessen saliva production, leaving your sensitive gums susceptible to bacteria that can build up and destroy gums. The alcohol itself can also aid in this destruction by corroding the unprotected tissues.

Poor Diet
Your gums and teeth require certain nutrients to stay healthy. These nutrients are found in fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Alcohol is a nutrient deficient beverage, providing none of what your gums require. Use of alcohol is also connected to poor dietary choices, leading you to stray away from the foods that do have what is required for proper oral health.

Poor Dental Hygiene

Your teeth require daily maintenance - brushing twice a day, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash. Without this routine, your mouth runs the risk of bacterial buildup, which can eat away at your gums, causing infection. Alcohol can exacerbate this problem if your mouth is not properly cared for. Those who drink often tend to have poor dental hygiene habits, which can quickly cause or significantly worsen gum disease.

[[[class:TPsubtitle|Warning Signs]]
Bleeding gums when flossing or brushing is often an early warning sign of gingivitis, which is the earliest stage of gum disease. This stage is also the most easily treated. However, those who drink often tend to ignore the warning signs of this potentially devastating disease, leading them to face more severe problems with not only their gums but their teeth and bone as well.

While the occasional drink may not cause any issues, regular drinking can severely impact the health of your gums. Don't let your oral health fall into disrepair. Drink in moderation and also be sure to brush regularly, eat right and contact our office if you notice anything out of the ordinary with your teeth and gums.