How Alcohol Affects Your Gums | Les Parodontistes

How Alcohol Affects Your Gums


Humans have been consuming alcohol for thousands of years, and the negative health consequences have been widely documented. According to Health Canada, nearly three million Canadians struggle with alcohol abuse on a daily basis, creating a strain on our health care system and consequently sabotaging their own health and well-being. Today we’re going to look at how alcohol can severely affect your gums.


Dry mouth

According to recent data, alcohol dries out the mouth by slowing down the production of saliva, which normally neutralizes excess acid. Consequently, plaque and bacteria have the ability to multiply at an alarming rate, meaning the patient will likely develop periodontal disease. If left untreated, the individual could experience decay and even tooth loss, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars to treat properly.


Sugars in alcohol

It’s a known fact that alcohol contains sugars that can feed the bacteria in your mouth, causing extreme irritation, redness, and bleeding in certain cases. If the patient does not change their drinking habits immediately, this can translate into periodontal disease, which could have life-threatening consequences.



Alcohol is toxic and carries an array of deadly physical and psychological ramifications. Many people don’t realize the substance is highly corrosive and immediately begins to eat away at your gums, which is comprised of soft tissue.  As it eats away at this layer, it can cause gum recession and increased sensitivity, meaning it’s harder to drink hot or cold beverages.


Damage to the tongue

The substance also has a dramatic impact on your tongue. It slowly destroys the taste buds located on the surface of the muscular organ, and the colour usually turns from a pinkish hue to a diseased pale white.


Preventative measures

If you notice the early signs and symptoms of gum disease and believe it’s related to your drinking habits, it’s important to immediately reduce your alcohol intake. Start slowly and consult a health care professional because you can experience symptoms of withdrawal. Some of these symptoms may be intense and potentially life threatening so you should consult an expert and share all the relevant information with them to ensure nothing goes awry.


Heavy drinkers tend to neglect their oral health as well, so it’s important to start brushing and flossing on a regular basis. This will help remove some of the built-up plaque and flush out the toxic bacteria that may be festering. Some specialists will also recommend gargling with salt and warm water, as it will temporarily treat inflammation if the gums are red and swollen.  


Your regular dentist will be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of gum disease, but they won’t be able to adequately treat it. You will be referred to a periodontist, who can assess the situation and determine a proper plan of action.


It’s important to look after your health and pay attention to your gums. If you’re reading this article and feel concerned, book an appointment with a professional. For more trustworthy information regarding your gums, consult Les Parodontistes at one of their multiple offices throughout the Montreal region.