Drinking Alcohol Increases Disease-Causing Mouth Bacteria

Drinking alcohol can shifts the balance of good and bad bacteria in the mouth, according to new research.

In research published on April 23, 2018, (Microbiome Journal), scientists at the NYU School of Medicine discovers that people who consume alcoholic beverages every day tend to disrupt the healthy combination of oral microbes, which then leads to gum infections, cancer, or cardiovascular disease.

The study defined heavy drinkers as men and women that takes more than one alcoholic drinks per day.

“Heavy alcohol drinking results to a well-established risk factor that leads to multiple diseases which includes cancer,” said Dr Ahn. “Our study has provided another scientific reason to avoid heavy consumption of alcohol to maintain a healthy oral microbiome, that is very important to our health.”

Good Bacteria Versus Bad Bacteria

Over 700 different kind of bacteria and some species of fungi live in the mouth. Many of these microorganisms play a very important role in factors of our wellness which includes immune responses, digestion of nutrient, and possible prevention of cancer.

A study showed that heavy drinkers are at risk of harmful Actinomyces, Bacteroidales, and Neisseria bacteria; and they had low levels of Lactobacillales bacteria commonly found in the probiotic food supplements that are thought to prevent any form of sickness.

Oral bacteria composition can influence the development of oral and digestive tract cancers, which includes cancer of the oral cavity, pancreas and the oesophagus. Changes in the bacterial composition due to heavy alcohol consumption can potentially contribute to heart disease, periodontal diseases and head and neck cancer also.

Potential Significance

Dr Ahn could not comment if better oral hygiene could help drinkers to maintain a healthier mouth bacterial balance. She further stressed that research has not confirmed if stalling or stimulating any change in the microbiome will lead to healthier bacteria levels that are similar to the nondrinkers.

Dr Burakoff also recommends that his patients should take a very little alcohol at least. “Heavy consumption of alcohol is associated with poor health results”, he stated.