Alcohol and Gum Disease

dentist working on teethResearchers find a link between heavy drinking and this growing health problem.

We’ve all heard the warnings about gum disease: It can be a precursor to heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. So you brush and floss, but what else can you do to keep your mouth healthy? Cut down on your alcohol consumption.

For the first time, researchers have proven a connection between heavy alcohol consumption and an increase in the risk of developing gum disease. Oral biologists at the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine found the link. (The also found that a diet low in antioxidant vitamins puts you at risk, too.)

As alcohol consumption increased from five drinks per week to 10, 15 and 20, the risk of periodontal disease rose from 10 percent to 20, 30 and then 40 percent, giving researchers confidence that there was a clear link.

The studies were presented at the combined meeting of the American Association for Dental Research and International Association for Dental Research.

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