Background: Alcohol consumption, like smoking, may be related to periodontal disease independently of oral hygiene status. This study assessed the relationship between alcohol consumption and severity of periodontal disease.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of 1,371 subjects ages 25 to 74 in the Erie County, NY population was performed. Alcohol intake was assessed by means of previously validated self-reported questionnaires. Outcome variables were gingival bleeding, clinical attachment loss, alveolar bone loss, and presence of subgingival microorganisms.
Results: Logistic regression analyses adjusting for age, gender, race, education, income, smoking, diabetes mellitus, dental plaque, and presence of any of 8 subgingival microorganisms showed that those consuming > or =5 drinks/week had an odds ratio (OR) of 1.65 (95% CI: 1.22 to 2.23) of having higher gingival bleeding, and OR of 1.36 (95% CI: 1.02 to 1.80) of having more severe clinical attachment loss compared to those consuming <5 drinks/week. Those consuming > or =10 drinks/week had an odds ratio (OR) of 1.62 (95% CI: 1.12 to 2.33) of having higher gingival bleeding and OR of 1.44 (95% CI: 1.04 to 2.00) of having more severe clinical attachment loss compared to those consuming <10 drinks/week. Alcohol consumption was not significantly related to alveolar bone loss nor to any of the subgingival microorganisms.
Conclusions: The results suggest that alcohol consumption is associated with moderately increased severity of periodontal disease. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine whether alcohol is a true risk factor for periodontal disease.