What Is Alcohol Gum Disease?

Table of Contents


Excessive alcohol consumption and oral health are a problematic combination. Recent studies have established a connection between drinking alcohol and gum disease. The research indicates that the higher the alcohol consumption, the greater the risk to your gums for alcohol gum disease. Beyond this, for anyone who is already dealing with gum disease, alcohol can expedite the progression of the condition.

Can Alcohol Cause Gum Disease?

Excessive alcohol consumption can compromise the immune system, meaning that it’s more challenging to combat infections like periodontitis.

We want to help

Let’s setup a call and figure out the best treatment options for you or your loved one. Our detox specialists will get back to you immediately.

Periodontitis, commonly known as gum disease, is one of the prevalent long-term consequences of alcohol on oral health, characterized by symptoms like gum recession, plaque buildup, infection, bleeding gums, or infection. The association between gum disease and an increased risk of conditions like diabetes, stroke, and cancer is well-established.

A 2015 study explored the adverse effects of alcohol on gums. The study examined 542 participants, categorizing them as regular drinkers, occasional drinkers, or nondrinkers. Some participants suffered from periodontitis, while others did not. Findings showed that:

  • Regular drinkers without periodontitis reported more gum bleeding than nondrinkers.
  • Individuals with periodontitis experienced a gradual worsening of their condition with increased alcohol consumption frequency.
  • Drinkers not affected by gum disease had higher plaque levels than nondrinkers.
  • Regular drinkers without gum disease were more likely to have larger gum pockets between than nondrinkers (healthy gums typically have pockets measuring 1 to 3 millimeters, whereas those impacted by gum disease often have pockets of 4 millimeters long or greater).

Results showed that even in individuals without gum disease, alcohol can negatively impact on gum health across various parameters.

A woman brushing her teeth, depicting how alcohol can cause tooth decay

Does Alcohol Cause Tooth Decay?

Beyond its impact on gum health, alcohol consumption can also contribute to tooth decay. The acidity in alcoholic beverages, coupled with the sugars often present in various drinks, creates an environment conducive to the erosion of tooth enamel. This erosion, over time, can lead to cavities and decay.

Additionally, alcohol can contribute to dehydration, reducing saliva production. Saliva plays a crucial role in neutralizing acids and helping in the remineralization of tooth enamel. A lack of sufficient saliva increases the risk of tooth decay.

Be mindful of the overall oral health implications of alcohol consumption, including both gum disease and tooth decay. Practicing good oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups, and moderation in alcohol intake can contribute to maintaining a healthy and resilient oral environment.

Is Alcohol Gum Disease and Tooth Decay Reversible?

The impact of alcohol on gum disease and tooth decay may vary based on several factors, including the extent of the condition and individual oral health practices. In some cases, adopting healthier habits and seeking professional dental care can help mitigate the effects and even reverse certain aspects.

For gum disease

  • Early stages: Gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, is often reversible with improved oral hygiene practices. This includes regular brushing and flossing, as well as professional dental cleanings.
  • Moderate to severe stages: As gum disease progresses, professional intervention becomes crucial. Deep cleaning procedures, such as scaling and root planing, may be recommended by a dentist or periodontist to remove plaque and tartar from below the gumline.

For tooth decay

  • Early stages (cavities): In the early stages of tooth decay, known as cavities, remineralization is possible through the use of fluoride and maintaining good oral hygiene practices. Dental fillings may be necessary to restore teeth.
  • Advanced stages: Once decay progresses, more extensive dental procedures like crowns or root canals may be required.

General recommendations

  • Limiting alcohol intake: Moderation in alcohol consumption is beneficial for oral health. Reducing the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption can positively impact gum health and help prevent further tooth decay.
  • Oral hygiene practices: Consistent and thorough oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and using fluoride-based products, contribute significantly to oral health.
  • Professional dental care: Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are essential for early detection and intervention. Dentists can provide personalized advice and treatment plans tailored to individual needs.

While the impact of alcohol on oral health can be pronounced, taking proactive steps and seeking professional guidance can contribute to the potential reversibility of gum disease and tooth decay.

An image of Laguna Beach, where addiction recovery treatment is available

Get Treatment for Alcohol Addiction at California Detox

If you want to take advantage of the benefits of supervised medical detoxification, reach out to California Detox in Laguna Beach, CA. Access continuous clinical care and FDA-approved medications to streamline alcohol withdrawal at our luxury beachside facility. Detox also allows you to transition into an ongoing residential rehab program to tackle the psychological side of alcohol use disorder.

All treatment programs account for the unique nature of each addiction by delivering personalized therapy that may include any of the following modalities:

When you are ready to reclaim your life from alcohol addiction, call 949.694.8305 and begin your recovery in California right away.


Yes, excessive alcohol consumption can compromise the immune system and contribute to gum disease. Chronic heavy drinking may impair the body’s ability to fight off infections, increasing the risk of developing oral health issues like gum disease.
While moderate alcohol consumption may not directly cause tooth decay, excessive and regular drinking, particularly of sugary or acidic alcoholic beverages, can contribute to the development of tooth decay. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices is crucial for minimizing the risk of dental issues associated with alcohol consumption.


Request a Call