Alcohol and tobacco consumption affect the oral carriage of Candida albicans and mutans streptococci

Lett Appl Microbiol. 2016 Oct;63(4):254-9. doi: 10.1111/lam.12620. Epub 2016 Aug 25.


This study sought to determine if there is a relationship between the consumption of alcohol and tobacco and oral colonization by mutans streptococci and Candida species. Subjects were recruited from the University Dental Clinic of CEU Cardenal Herrera University (Moncada, Valencia). Information on alcohol and tobacco consumption was obtained by questionnaire. Individual stimulated saliva samples from 105 patients were obtained and selective media was used to isolate and quantify mutans streptococci and Candida spp. colony forming units per millilitre of saliva (CFU ml(-1) ). Samples were stratified by duration and quantity of alcohol and tobacco consumption. Alcohol consumption statistically significantly decreased oral carriage of mutans streptococci, whereas there was no effect on Candida albicans colonization levels. Tobacco users were found to harbour elevated levels of C. albicans; however, there was no observed effect on bacterial colonization by mutans streptococci. The carriage of other species investigated, such as Candida krusei, Candida tropicalis and lactobacilli, do not show a response to the consumption of the stimulants analysed. Microbial colonization of the oral cavity changes in a species-specific manner in response to dietary and social habits such as drinking alcohol and smoking.

Significance and impact of the study: In this paper, we evaluate the effect of alcohol and tobacco consumption on key species of the oral microflora. Our results show species-specific changes in two major opportunistic pathogens, such as Candida albicans and mutans streptococci, whereas other members of oral microflora are not affected by the consumption of the stimulants studied. We believe this original paper will contribute to raise awareness among the dental community towards a more personalized oral health assessment, taking in consideration alcohol and tobacco consumption in the prevention of specific oral and systemic pathologies.

Keywords: Candida; alcohol; disease; fungi; streptococci; tobacco.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Candida albicans / growth & development*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus / growth & development
  • Male
  • Microbiota / drug effects
  • Mouth / microbiology*
  • Oral Health
  • Saliva / microbiology*
  • Streptococcus mutans / growth & development*
  • Tobacco Use / adverse effects*