In the past, many studies have highlighted on the effects of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine on oral cavity. The long-term consumption can change the biological and microbiological status of the natural oral cavity. In the latest study, researchers have investigated the saliva of patients. They focused on alterations to the levels of cytokines in the frequent consumers of the three stimulating substances.
The study was led by Dr Verónica Veses from the Cardenal Herrera University in Valencia. The researchers focused on three cytokines, interleukin-1 alpha, tumour necrosis factor alpha and interferon gamma. Saliva swabs were taken from 50 patients from the CEU dental clinic. Afterwards, participants put them into groups according to their self-reported levels of consumption of caffeine, alcohol or tobacco.
Veses explained, “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.”
The results showed that patients who consumed caffeine through drinking coffee and/or soft drinks also had higher levels of interferon gamma and tumour necrosis factor alpha. “Only their levels of interleukin-1 alpha are lower than those registered among non-consumers,” noted Veses.
In a previous study, Veses and her team detected a relation between consuming the stimulating substances and alteration of the levels of oral microflora. Now, this recent research is the first to show that the levels of cytokines in saliva are altered by prolonged consumption of the three substances.
The study, titled “Modulation of salivary cytokines in response to alcohol, tobacco and caffeine consumption: A pilot study”, was published in Scientific Reports