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alcohol pouring into glass Drinking alcohol can give you more than strong breath — it may mess up the balance of good versus bad bacteria in your mouth, researchers reported Monday. That, in turn, can raise the risk not only of gum disease and cavities, but also of cancer and heart disease, they said. Their findings, published in the journal Microbiome, could help explain why people who drink more may die younger than people who drink less, and why drinking can cause cancer. “Our study offers clear evidence that drinking is bad for maintaining a healthy balance of microbes in the mouth and could help explain why drinking, like smoking, leads to bacterial changes already tied to cancer and chronic disease,” Jiyoung More Info Ahn, an epidemiologist at NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, said in a statement. “My report provides another scientific rationale for avoiding excessive alcohol drinking,” she added in a telephone interview. Drinking alcohol kills off many “good” bacteria, and allows some potentially harmful bacteria to flourish in the mouth, they found. “Such changes potentially contribute to alcohol-related diseases, including periodontal disease, head and neck cancer, and digestive tract cancers,” the team wrote. Although people who drink lightly to moderately appear healthier than people who don’t drink at all, more and more studies are starting to show that even moderate drinking can damage health. Drinkers are more likely to develop a range of cancers, as well as heart disease, and alcohol’s stress on the liver is well known. Heavy drinkers also notoriously can lose teeth and develop gum disease. Ahn’s team set out to determine whether some or all of these various types of damage are due to alcohol’s effect on the microbiome in the mouth. Microbiomes are the collection of microorganisms, including bacteria, yeast and viruses, that live in and on our bodies. They help digest food, can protect from disease and might cause disease, as well. Researchers are trying to figure out what the elements of an optimal microbiome are but the lack of detailed evidence has not stopped health food stores and websites from offering a range of “probiotic” products that claim to improve health. The NYU team looked at two big surveys of health in which people provided samples from their mouths for analysis and also provided details of their drinking habits. They ended up with details on more than 1,000 people, including 270 nondrinkers, 614 moderate drinkers, and 160 heavy drinkers. All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from LEADERSHIP Nigeria Newspapers . Contact:

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​The Reality of Underage Drinking irritability, anger, depression. Switching their group of friends and becoming more secretive about their activities. Noticeable signs of drinking e.g. smelling alcohol on the breath, finding alcohol among the teen’s things, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and coordination difficulties. Although families and loved ones of underage drinkers, as well as the kids themselves, bear the greatest burden of underage drinking, it affects all of us. Some of the consequences include: Changes in brain development. As mentioned earlier, teens’ brains are still developing and prolonged alcohol use can have a negative effect on this, causing problems in cognitive or learning functions. Death. According to the CDC, underage drinking accounts for the deaths of more than 4,300 young people annually through alcohol poisoning, suicides, car crashes and homicides. This deprives many families of their loved ones. Impaired judgment. Alcohol can affect a teen’s ability to make decisions, leading to risky behavior such as drunk driving, unprotected sex or even violence. Increased risk of health problems. Excessive alcohol consumption comes with adverse health effects including increasing an individual’s risk of developing nerve damage, liver and cardiovascular diseases, cancer or even alcohol use disorder. This creates an additional financial and emotional burden for the person’s family. Social and legal problems. Youth who abuse alcohol run the risk of alienating their families and friends, leading to isolation. Additionally, they tend to be more aggressive, increasing the risk of physical assault. They could also get arrested for assault or drunk driving. candid conversation with your teen about the dangers of underage drinking is one of the surest ways of warding off the vice. Other than that, you can encourage them to take up hobbies and activities that will provide a healthy outlet. alcohol misuse help and advice alcohol misuse help and advice

6 Tips to Stay Sober During the Winter Months The winter months can be tough when you’re trying to stay sober. The colder weather, the shorter days, the holidays – they can all be triggers that lead you back to old ways. But here’s the good news: the next few months don’t have to be unbearable or lead to a relapse . Combat the winter doldrums with these simple recovery tips; they’ll help you keep those cravings at bay. Did you know getting out of the house and catching some rays can have positive effects on your mood? It’s true – sunshine is a proven mood booster. Exposure to sunlight increases the brain’s release of the hormone, serotonin, which promotes an improved state of mind and increased sense of calm. Get your daily dose of Vitamin D by taking a walk, keeping your blinds open or placing chairs and tables near windows. Typically, the holidays require participating in activities that may have involved substance use in the past, so it’s crucial to stay connected to your support system. Bring a friend with you to gatherings that may involve alcohol and make sure you have someone you can call if you’re feeling triggered. Knowing you have a support group that has your back will provide you with extra strength to resist temptation during these winter months. If you’re going to a holiday party, have a plan in place before heading through the front door. Bring a sober friend to help combat temptation , carry a non-alcoholic beverage to keep your hands occupied and have a rehearsed spiel on-hand just in case anyone asks why you’re not tossing a few back. By being prepared, you’ll be better equipped for whatever curve-balls may be thrown your way. Practice an “attitude of gratitude.” Multiple studies have shown just by being appreciative of life’s everyday joys can have a profound impact on mental and physical well-being. The winter months present the perfect opportunity to reflect on all your achievements over the past year. Make a list of your accomplishments – big and small – and say out loud all you’re thankful for; it might just do the trick to boost your mood when you’re feeling low. If this is your first winter sober , it’s important to come to grips with the idea that sobriety doesn’t automatically make all your problems go away. It’s going to take some time for you to adjust to this new way of living and for you to build a happy life. By knowing this ahead of time and keeping your expectations in check, you’re less likely to become discouraged and relapse.