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Periodontists Find Excess Alcohol Increases Risk of Gum Disease

A beautiful glass of wine often makes the perfect accompaniment to a fine meal. But what affect is that glass, or the one after it, having on your smile? For years, people thought the only dental problem with a little too much red wine was that it might stain their otherwise shiny white teeth. But research by the Journal of Periodontology has revealed that having too much of any alcohol can be bad news for your gums, as well. Since healthy gums are essential to maintaining your smile as you age, periodontists think it’s important that you know the role alcohol plays when it comes to your oral health. That way you can enjoy it responsibly, and confident that it won’t be taking a toll on your one-and-only smile.

Be Careful How Much You Drink

In a recent study by the Journal of Periodontology, research revealed that frequent drinkers were far more likely than their non-drinking counterparts to have excessive plaque buildup. Those moderate to heavy drinkers with existing gum disease, were also much more likely to be exhibiting worse symptoms of the disease, such as extreme sensitivity and gums that easily bled.

Researchers indicated this is likely due to the drying effects of alcohol, which prevent saliva formation. Since saliva is a key way your body prevents plaque buildup, its absence can have negative impacts on your oral health, particularly concerning your gums.

Why Plaque Buildup Is a Big Deal

While plaque buildup might seem like a primarily cosmetic issue, it can be incredibly bad news for your oral health as well as esthetically. That’s because the bacteria in plaque feed on the sugars in your body and create an acidic environment. Where your teeth are concerned, this can lead to cavities, as the acidity can slowly erode your teeth’s enamel. But when it comes to your gums, this plaque can lead to gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal (or gum) disease, which left untreated can cause problems for both your smile and your overall health.

Countless studies have shown correlations between the health of your gum tissue and the rest of your body, because of the way blood travels throughout your body. In fact, gum disease has been linked to serious illnesses and conditions like heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer, diabetes and premature births. In other words, symptoms of gum disease should not be overlooked. They should be treated, promptly, by a qualified periodontist.

By removing the plaque, which sometimes requires ultrasonic scaling, a periodontist can often help reverse the symptoms of gingivitis, and help to restore oral health.