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The Negative Connection Between Alcohol Abuse and Oral Health

April 15, 2016

Filed under: general dentistry — Tags: — drcanatella @ 5:46 pm

alcohol abuse and oral healthAt Canatella Dental, we are committed to providing the highest quality dental care to promote healthy smiles. Part of our commitment to dental excellence includes educating our patients. In an effort to ensure you maintain a happy and healthy mouth, we want to raise awareness about the connection between alcohol abuse and oral health. As your New Orleans dentist, we are here to protect your smile with the information you need about the impact of alcohol consumption on your teeth and what you can do to combat the risk factors.

Alcohol Abuse and Oral Health Risks

It’s estimated about 44 percent of adults over the age of 18 in America consume at least 12 alcoholic drinks per year. While most do so responsibly, alcohol consumption of any kind still impacts your oral health negatively. However, those who abuse alcohol, roughly 14 million Americans, have an increased risk for damaging their oral health. In fact, 80 percent of those who abuse alcohol have a form of gum disease and tooth decay. Not to mention, it’s estimated one-third of those may have precancerous lesions, increasing the risk for oral cancer.

Among the leading cause for oral health complications linked to alcohol consumption is the fact those who drink excessively often let their oral hygiene lapse. They develop poor oral hygiene habits, which increases the risk for gum disease and tooth decay. In addition, alcohol often leads to irritation of the gum, oral tissues, and tongue. When you combine alcohol use with smoking, the risk factors for developing oral complications, including oral cancer, further increase.

Those who drink excessively stand a higher chance for periodontal disease because alcohol impairs neutrophil functions, resulting in an excess growth of bacteria that causes gum inflammation. Not to mention, alcohol has a toxic effect on gum tissue, increasing the gingival crevice that’s associated with gum disease.

The higher levels of bacteria also increase the risk for tooth decay. However, the risk for tooth decay further increases because those who drink excessively often vomit frequently. The acid from vomit can lead to more dental caries.

Alcohol is also directly linked to oral cancer because alcohol breaks down into acetaldehyde, which is known to bond to the proteins in the mouth. This then triggers an inflammatory response, potentially causing cancerous cells to develop.

Combating the Risks of Alcohol Abuse

For those who suffer from alcohol abuse, the top priority is to seek treatment for their addiction. First and foremost, the abuse needs to stop, not only to save oral health but overall health as well. In addition, whether you drink excessively or in moderation, you need to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. You will need to visit your New Orleans dentist regularly for proper cleanings and checkups while we monitor for any signs of complications to provide the appropriate intervention.

Canatella Dental understand the relationship between alcohol abuse and oral health. We provide the comprehensive care you require when combating and preventing the effects of alcohol consumption. Please contact our office today at (504) 265-1337 to schedule an appointment today.

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