- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Drinking between one or two alcoholic beverages a day changes the bacteria in your mouth and is associated with poor health outcomes from diseases the mouth to more serious risks like cancer, according to a new study.

Published in the journal Microbiome on Monday, researchers observed 1,044 U.S. adults and found significant differences in the bacteria present in mouths between heavy drinkers and nondrinkers, and differences between groups who drank beer and liquor verses wine only.

Heavy drinkers — which was considered more than one drink for women and two for men per day — were found to increase bad bacteria and decrease good bacteria, the researchers wrote.

Participants who drank beer and liquor, however, didn’t have a significant difference in the number of bacteria present compared to nondrinkers — while wine drinkers had more bacteria overall compared to nondrinkers.

All three liquors were each independently associated with a decreased abundance of a specific bacteria in the mouth.

The latest research builds on earlier studies which established a relationship between alcohol consumption and an increased risk of periodontal disease, and based on how many drinks one consumes.

The scientists set out to understand how the number of drinks and the type of alcohol one ingests influences rates of disease.

Bad oral hygiene is known to be a contributing factor to a wide range of health problems, from toothaches and gum disease to more serious illnesses such as gastrointestinal cancers and heart disease.

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