Did you know excess drinking could potentially damage your gums? Researchers have found that people who are heavy drinkers are up to three times as likely to have severe gum disease or periodontal disease compared to those who only drink occasionally or who abstain completely. The figures are even worse if you choose to smoke, as this is well known to increase the risk of periodontal disease.
What Is the Link between Periodontal Disease and Excess Alcohol?
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that promotes an inflammatory response from the body as it tries to fight the bacteria responsible for the infection. The results can be extremely destructive, as periodontitis can destroy the ligaments holding the teeth in place, the gum tissue and the bone supporting the teeth. Having a strong immune system is essential to help fight this disease, but apparently alcohol impairs the body’s immunologic defence mechanisms. This means that the bacteria responsible for the infection can continue to thrive, penetrating the gingival or gum tissues.
In addition alcohol has a drying effect on the mouth making it more difficult for the bacteria to be washed away by saliva. This means bacteria can build up more quickly, causing plaque to form at a faster rate. It’s thought consuming in excess of 10 drinks per week could increase the risk of periodontal disease. One particular study found that increasing alcohol consumption from five units to 20 units per week could increase the risk of periodontal disease from 10% to 40%.
Reducing the Risk of Periodontal Disease
While one way to help reduce the risk of periodontal disease is simply to have as a healthy a lifestyle is possible, preventative dental care plays a huge part. This is why we urge you to visit Leeds City Dentalcare at regular intervals, regardless of whether or not you like a drink or two.
Early intervention is essential in treating gum disease, and can help reverse the disease before it causes any permanent damage to the gums. At this stage dentist in Leeds can advise you on how to reverse these early signs, called gingivitis. Our dental hygienists in Leeds will professionally clean your teeth, helping to remove much of the infection and inflammation. You’ll also be given lots of advice on how to practice good oral care at home, including how to brush properly so you reach right down to the gum line and just below the gums, and how to floss properly.
You can also help yourself by ensuring you eat healthily, and that you keep your intake of sugary foods to a minimum as this will help to limit the amount of bacterial growth in your mouth. Drinking plenty of water will help increase the flow of saliva which in turn helps to wash away plaque bacteria, slowing the production of plaque.
Following a good home care regime should help return your gums to health within a very short period of time. It’s important to persevere even if your gums bleed whenever you clean them as this bleeding should lessen and eventually cease as the gum tissue becomes stronger and less infected.