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Alcohol Abuse can Lead to Oral Health Problems

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We tend to associate tooth decay with excessive consumption of sugars, and it is common knowledge that stains on the teeth can be the result of smoking.

However, emerging science suggests that an over indulgence of alcohol can also have the same adverse effects on oral health. While the use of tobacco has been proven to increase the risk of oral cancer, people who use tobacco heavily as well as drink copious amounts of alcohol are at a greater risk for developing mouth cancer.

In fact, alcohol abuse has been classified as the second largest risk factor for the development of oral cancer, with the consumption of more than 21 standard drinks of alcohol deemed to be alcohol abuse. One of the reasons alcohol can have such a tremendously negative effect on the mouth is its dehydrating properties. Because alcohol tends to dehydrate cell walls, the ability for carcinogens found in cigarettes to permeate the cell and cause damage is increased.

For non-smokers who engage in heavy drinking, nutritional deficiencies that are associated with alcohol abuse can lower the body’s ability to use antioxidants. This is especially dangerous because antioxidants are useful for preventing the development of cancers.

If you engage in heavy drinking, here’s what you might be dealing with in terms of your oral health:

  • Poor healing after dental surgeries.
  • Irritation of the gums, tongue and oral tissues.
  • An increase in tooth decay.
  • An increased risk of periodontal disease.

Of course, the only way to determine whether you or someone you know suffers from alcohol-related oral health issues is to have them seen by a London dentist or hygienist. When caught early and with the proper type and amount of care, many alcohol-related oral health issues are reversible. If you suspect you might suffer from any of the aforementioned maladies, consult a dental healthcare professional right away.

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