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Prolonged consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco alters the levels of salivary cytokines.

By Dental Tribune International
November 28, 2019

VALENCIA, Spain: Various studies have shown that long term consumption of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine affect the biological and microbiological status of the oral cavity. The first pilot study of its kind has investigated whether the alterations occur to the levels of cytokines in the saliva of patients who consume these three stimulating substances frequently.

Dr Verónica Veses from the CEU Cardenal Herrera University in Valencia and her team investigated the levels of three cytokines viz. interleukin-1 alpha, tumour necrosis factor-alpha and interferon-gamma. The research team took saliva swabs from 50 patients from the CEU dental clinic and divided the participants into different groups based on their self-reported levels of consumption of caffeine, alcohol or tobacco.

“In our results, we detected that frequent consumers of large amounts of alcohol and tobacco show a greater presence of the three studied cytokines in their saliva, which predisposes them to suffer chronic inflammatory, periodontal or tumoural diseases in their oral cavity. Specifically, we detected that interleukin-1 alpha was the highest in alcohol consumers, and interferon-gamma was higher among smokers,” explained Veses.

The study also revealed that the patients who consumed caffeine through coffee and/or soft drinks had higher levels of interferon-gamma and tumour necrosis factor-alpha compared to the participants who did not. “Only their levels of interleukin-1 alpha are lower than those registered among non-consumers,” noted Veses.

A previous study by the same research team had found a correlation between the consumption of stimulants and oral microflora alteration. Now, the current study is the first to show that prolonged consumption of the three stimulants alters the levels of salivary cytokines.

The study, titled “Modulation of salivary cytokines in response to alcohol, tobacco and caffeine consumption: A pilot study”, was published on 12 November 2018 in Scientific Reports.

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