Study: Drinking Alcohol Affects Oral Bacteria

Out With The Good, In With The Bad?

We all know about the harmful effects of over consumption of alcohol or alcoholism on one’s general health. There’s heart disease, certain cancers, to name a few. However, drinking also impacts other sensitive biological mechanisms, which may facilitate the body’s vulnerability to disease. Such as the biological mechanics within our mouth, which in turn impacts oral health.

Study of the Effects of Alcohol

Researchers from the New York University School of Medicine in NYC have recently brought to light how alcohol affects the bacterial microbiome of the mouth. The research claims that drinking can likely promote the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth while at the same time stunting the development of helpful, probiotic bacteria.

The study involved 1,044 adult participants, aged 55–87, recruited through the American Cancer Society (ACS) Cancer Prevention Study II and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Healthy at the start of enrollment, they provided samples of their oral bacteria and drinking habits information. Of the number, 270 were non-drinkers, 614 were moderate drinkers, and 160 were into heavy drinking.

The research found that with those who were alcohol drinkers developed certain harmful bacteria in the mouth, namely, those belonging to the species Bacteroidales, Actinomyces, and Neisseria. In these same people, healthy bacteria, such as those from the species Lactobacillales (which help to prevent certain diseases) could not develop properly. Drinkers had decreased abundance of Lactobacillales, and with higher alcohol use, had other bacteria, some of which are potentially disease-causing, pointing at heart disease, head and neck cancer and gastrointestinal cancer.

There is evidence of an imbalance in the oral microbial flora related to local oral diseases, like periodontitis and dental caries linking potentially to systemic diseases, including gastrointestinal cancers and cardio- vascular disease. However, more research is needed along the lines of how different types of alcoholic drinks, as wine, beer and other strong liquors, independently influence the development of oral bacteria.

Better understanding of the causes and health impacts of oral bacterial imbalance can lead to specific bacteria-targeted approaches for disease prevention. In the meanwhile, it’s better to control alcohol consumption to reverse the effects or prevent the damage of unhealthy bacteria.


Ask Dr. Jaime Lee at Smile Art Seattle

A good drink once in a while or drinking only socially may be able to keep the balance of oral microbes at its best. It’s not just good for oral health, but overall being as well, we at First Impressions like to say.

Water Flossing: As Effective as String Flossing Today

Benefits of Water Flossing

Knowing that flossing your teeth is one of the essentials of a good oral hygiene routine, in fact in tandem with tooth brushing, it is easier said than done. It is a challenge to use. Dental floss only works for those who use it regularly and do it effectively enough to get a health benefit. Imagine how many can actually flex the string beneath the gum line, move the string up and down with enough pressure for plaque removal, yet, avoid cutting into the tissue with too much tension? Not too many.

Using a water flosser with the ADA Seal of Acceptance has been proven to be as effective if not more effective than traditional flossing at removing plaque between teeth. Water flossers are less technique- sensitive.They are also called water picks and are a way to thoroughly clean between and around teeth, by spraying streams of water in steady pulses. Using a water pick will remove food, bacteria and even plaque around teeth and gum pockets.

Benefits of Water Flossing

In fact, there are science-backed benefits to water flossers. For one, water flossers reduce periodontal infection. They work deep in the gum pocket and remove bacteria which initiates infection. They were proven to remove more than 99% of plaque, which greatly reduces the chance of periodontal disease.

Gingivitis, the initial stage of gum disease, has been reduced significantly in studies where people use water picks daily; It also applies to gum bleeding. A study has shown that compared to tooth brushing, only water flossing can reduce the inflammatory cytokine Interleukin-1b, which was correlated with less gum bleeding.

Water flossers are best for cleaning orthodontic appliances. A study showed that among orthodontic braces wearers, these flossers removed 3 times more plaque than those who only brushed their teeth, and reduced bleeding by 84%. They are also safe to use around implants, where maintenance is critical for their longevity. They were also proven to help diabetics who tend to have more periodontal disease and more severe gingivitis inflammation. Best of all, water flossers are easy to use, take less effort and time than traditional string flossing, and people of all ages can use it without assistance – even young children.

Easy, Safe and Effective

There are many models of water flossers in the market. There are corded and non-corded, the latter more powerful, if desired. There are flossers that are light-weight and for travel, those that can be used in the shower, those that come with adjustable strengths, for professional use and for kids. Water flossers are the new floss today – easy, safe, and effective oral hygiene tools.

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Ask Dr. Jaime Lee about Water Flossing

Know more about water flossers and how they are able to clean teeth and gums effectively. It’s one of you best tools to avoid or deter the onslaught of gum disease. See us at Smile Art in downtown Seattle.

Oral Hygiene Links To Heart Health

Mouth Hygiene Connects to Heart Disease

Did you know that following the oral hygiene guidelines set by the American Dental Association may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease? This result was presented as a new research by no less than the prestigious American Heart Association.

The basic guidelines are simple. Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes may reduce cardiovascular disease risk.

Studies on Oral and Health Health

In the particular study, after surveying 682 people about their brushing habits, researchers determined that not adhering to the oral hygiene guidelines incurs an increased three-fold risk of having a heart attack, heart failure or stroke, or dying from either one of these.

This study came from the Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences at Hiroshima University in Japan. It was a press release by the American Heart Association only in November 2018. It simply stated that based on daily behavior of tooth-brushing, if oral health is poor, it is associated with poorer heart health.

Gum Disease

In another study, published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, echos the highlights of the above study. This time researchers here found that having gum disease tends to increase blood pressure. Likewise, gum disease was found to impede the treatment of hypertension by negatively interfering with medications used to treat hypertension.

Involved experts here say that gum disease is one of those diseases that renders the body in a sort of continual state of inflammation. Gum disease seems also to be a very powerful predictor of cardiovascular disease. Meaning that there’s a high probability that persons with gum disease more or less are likely to develop cardiovascular conditions.

The American Heart Association has already announced the results of the latter study at its Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago only in November 2018.


Recognizing the Link in Downtown Seattle

We encourage our patients to pay mind to their oral health with our consistent and friendly reminders of the importance of proper oral hygiene practices. It’s not just good for the mouth, but the heart as well.