Alcohol Drinkers Hold Overabundance of Oral Bacteria Linked to Diseases

Alcohol drinkers hold overabundance of oral bacteria linked to diseases than non-drinkers, new research has found. One or more alcoholic beverages each day can raise the risk of not only of cavities and gum disease but also of some cancer and heart disease as people who routinely drank the same amount of drink contained an overabundance of bad bacteria.

Researchers reported Monday that our mouth naturally contains about 700 types of bacteria, including both good and bad. But drinking alcohol each day may mess up the balance of good versus bad bacteria in your mouth.

The main findings published in the journal Microbiomeonline April 23 says, by contrast, drinkers had good microbes in their mouths to check the growth of harmful germs.

Led by NYU School of Medicine researchers, the study is a first of its kind that shows that alcohol drinkers hold overabundance of oral bacteria as well as the link between alcohol intake and oral microbiome- the medical term for the colony of bacteria in our mouths.

During the study, researchers found that alcohol drinkers had more Bacteroidales, Actinomyces and Neisseria species of bacteria, which can cause periodontal disease or a decrease in beneficial bacteria compared to nondrinkers.

“We did not find a specific threshold level,” said Jiyoung Ahn, the study’s senior investigator and an epidemiologist at the NYU School of Medicine. “Though heavier drinking led to more extensive changes in the oral microbiome. Heavy alcohol intake is a known risk factor for multiple chronic diseases, including cancers (head and neck, esophagus, colon and breast), liver disease and cardiovascular diseases,” she added.

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