A new study suggests that alcohol use can populate your mouth with bad bacteria that can lead to heart disease, gum disease, and cancer. Scientists explained that alcohol abuse affects the microbiome in people’s mouths in ways not understood before.
The oral microbiome can be affected by other factors as well like drugs you take or food you eat. Drinking is the latest culprit on the list, according to a new study.
Researchers found that alcohol can affect 700 different types of oral bacteria while helping the bad bacteria be more prolific than the good bacteria. The bad bacteria can later lead to gum disease, some types of cancer, and heart disease, researchers noted.
The study is in line with past research that has found a link between changes in the oral microbiome and higher risk of disease. Past studies have found that even mouthwash can be dangerous as it kills off good bacteria in the mouth and boosts the risk of disease.
Heavy Drinking Can Boost Levels of Bad Bacteria in the Mouth
Lead author Jiyoung Ahn underlined that heavy drinking can negatively impact the mouth bacteria.
We should avoid heavy drinking in terms of maintaining a healthy microbiome,
Dr. Ahn said.
A research paper detailing the findings was published in Microbiome on Tuesday.
The study involved more than 1,000 participants. Around 300 never drank, and 160 were heavy drinkers. The rest fell in the moderate drinking category. Participants provided saliva samples to have their oral microbiome analyzed. They also answered questions about their lifestyle and drinking habits.
Study authors found big differences between the bacteria population in non-drinkers’ mouths and the bacteria in heavy drinkers’ mouths. Heavy drinkers’ oral microbiome had high levels of three types of disease-causing bacteria, while non-drinkers’ microbiomes had high levels of good bacteria.
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