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Alcohol Consumption Associated With Changes In Oral Microbiome

NBC News reports new research published in the journal Microbiome suggests alcohol consumption “kills off many ‘good’ bacteria, and allows some potentially harmful bacteria to flourish in the mouth.” The study found “people who drank more had less abundant populations of Lactobacilli, so-called ‘good’ bacteria,” and “drinkers also had more abundant populations of Streptococcus, Actinomyces, Leptotrichia, Cardiobacterium, and Neisseria – all considered potentially harmful.” These changes “potentially contribute to alcohol-related diseases, including periodontal disease, head and neck cancer, and digestive tract cancers,” the researchers wrote.

HealthDay reports senior researcher Jiyoung Ahn, of NYU Langone Health in New York City, said that although “more research is necessary” to study this relationship, the findings suggest it is beneficial to limit alcohol consumption. “We already know that heavy drinking is a risk factor for many diseases,” she said. “So, the possible effect on the oral microbiome is one more reason to avoid heavy drinking.”

Separately, WFPL-FM Louisville, KY reports that the University of Louisville will receive “$11.2 million over the next five years to study both the good and bad bacteria that either help or hurt our bodies’ ability to ward off disease, otherwise known as the microbiome.” The grant is funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. WDRB-TV Louisville, KY reports that “much of the research will happen in the labs of the U of L School of Dentistry,” and “it could ultimately help people struggling with rheumatoid arthritis, some cancers, and even neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease and autism.”