Bad Bacteria Caused by Heavy Drinking, New Study Suggests

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A new study found that people that drink over the daily limit of alcohol could increase the bad bacteria in their mouth. Compared to nondrinkers, researchers have discovered that the people that drank relatively more, decreased the good bacteria in the mouths, and also allowed made it the perfect place for bad bacteria. They also found that heavy drinkers were more prone to gum disease, heart disease and cancer.

Heavy Drinking Related to Cancer and Gum Disease

The human body contains a lot of bacteria and microbes that occur naturally. The more diverse the microbiome, the better. So, senior researcher of NYU Langone Health (New York City), Jiyoung Ahn, explains what he wants to find out:

“What are the lifestyle factors that influence the oral microbiome?”

And being known that heavy drinking can increase the risk of gum disease and the risk of developing cancers of the head and neck, the next obvious conclusion was that alcohol impact the bacteria a person’s mouth.

Two national cancer studies took mouthwash samples from 1,044 U.S. adults. Jiyoung Ahn and his team analyzed the samples and saw that a quarter of the adults were nondrinkers. There were 59% moderate drinkers and 15% heavy drinkers. By heavy drinkers, the team used the limit recommendations from the U.S. health officials, which is one drink per day for women and two per day for men.

The study found that drinkers and heavy drinkers have less Lactobacillales than nondrinkers. Lactobacillales are the good bacteria that is found in probiotics. Drinkers also had high levels of bad bacteria like species of Bacteroidales, Actinomyces and Neisseria.

Moderate Consumption of Alcohol is The Best Approach

A professor in dental medicine and microbiology at Columbia University, Yiping Han, said that this is not an actual proof of alcohol influencing the oral microbiome. There are many other factors that could interfere. As a reply, Ahn said that she accounted for many other factors like age, race, smoking

Ahn said she and her team did account for a number of those factors. They looked at people’s age, race, smoking habits, education level and body weight, for example.

Although this is the first study to show the connection between alcohol and bad bacteria, Han said that until further research, “it’s always wise, for everyone, to practice good oral hygiene and have a generally healthy lifestyle.”

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere

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