Drinking Affects Oral Health

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You probably know that lifestyle choices can have a profound effect on your oral health. If you eat too many sweets or neglect to brush and floss, your smile is likely to reap the consequences. However, a new study suggests that sugary soda might not be the only beverage to wreak havoc on your teeth.

The Finnish Dental Association recently issued a warning that consuming more than the daily recommended quantity of alcohol can actually increase your chances of developing oral cancer.

Alcohol and Oral Health

The connection between alcohol and oral health is not a new one. In 2003, the American Dental Association studied the oral health of patients at an alcohol rehabilitation facility. Researchers found that 82 percent of the patients demonstrated moderate to severe gingival inflammation, while over two thirds had significant plaque accumulation. More than a third of patients showed signs of potentially pre-cancerous lesions, a rate which is far above the national average for Americans. Overall, people with alcohol abuse problems were far more likely to develop oral cancer than people who used alcohol responsibly or didn’t drink.

Oral cancer is not the only consequence of overconsumption of alcohol. People who abuse alcohol are likely to demonstrate irritation of the gums, tongue and oral tissue, tooth decay, gum disease and poor healing after dental surgery. For these reasons, board-certified periodontists Dr. Aalam and Dr. Krivitsky advise people to take care with their alcohol consumption. They also recommend that people not smoke cigarettes, as doing this can have a significant negative effect on oral health as well as overall body health. According to a recent Huffington Post article, people who both smoke and drink more than the recommended daily quantity are nearly 15 times more likely to develop oral cancer than people who don’t smoke or overconsume alcohol.

Dr. Aalam and Dr. Krivitsky know that oral cancer is much more treatable when the disease is diagnosed early. For this reason, they recommend that every patient schedule an oral cancer examination with a trained periodontist. Warning signs for oral cancer include the presence of pre-cancerous lesions, which periodontists can detect during an exam. If lesions are found, the periodontist will remove a piece of the lesion and then send it to a laboratory for testing. Other common signs of oral cancer include red patches on the floor of the mouth or the front and sides of the tongue. And slow-healing sores should be checked by an experienced dentist. Lumps or a general thickening of oral tissue can also be a cancer indicator. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to schedule a periodontal appointment. When oral cancer is diagnosed early, treatment is much more likely to be successful.

Contact the CENTER for a Brentwood Oral Cancer Exam Today

If you’re concerned about your oral health, or think your lifestyle choices may be putting you at risk for developing oral cancer, don’t wait to come in for an exam. Call Drs. Aalam and Krivitsky at (310) 299-8329 today or contact us online to schedule your oral health examination.

Now read about the connection between gum health and diabetes.

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