25 Apr

New study suggests that just 1 drink a day elevates gum disease and oral cancer risk

shutterstock_533737267A new study has suggested that drinking just one alcoholic drink per day could elevate your risk of developing gum disease, oral cancer and heart disease.
Research conducted by experts at New York University, revealed that people who had at least one drink a day had more harmful oral bacteria than non-drinkers. In addition, drinkers were found to lack healthy strains, which are capable of battling harmful bacteria.
Numerous studies have highlighted the dangers of excessive drinking in the past, but this new study provides an insight into the impact of drinking on the presence of both harmful and healthy bacteria in the mouth.
It is estimated that around 1 in 10 adults in the US are defined as ‘heavy drinkers.’ This term relates to the consumption of 1 or more drinks per day for women and 2 or more drinks for men.
During the trial, researchers analysed oral bacteria levels in 1,000 patients who were participating in national cancer trials. The team asked each person about their alcohol consumption, and the group was divided into three categories: heavy drinkers, moderate drinkers and non-drinkers.
Analysis of samples showed that drinkers had higher levels of harmful bacteria, including Neisseria species, Bacteroidales and Actinomyces and lower levels of Lactobacillales, healthy bacteria, which are commonly found in probiotic foods.
Study author, Jiyoung Ahn, an epidemiologist at the NYU School of Medicine, explained that the study shows that drinking alcohol has a negative impact on the balance of bacteria in the mouth, which could explain why people who drink frequently are more likely to develop conditions such as gum disease and oral cancer.
The team is now planning to develop the research and will be focusing on how alcohol affects the “biological mechanisms” within the mouth.