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Alcohol and Oral Health


alcohol-austin-oral-surgery-300x202A few weeks ago, we discussed oral health complications resulting from tobacco use. What you may not know is that alcohol can also have a detrimental effect on your oral health. An occasional glass of wine, though it might stain your teeth, is not going to pose a major threat to your oral health. However, when alcohol is consumed in excess or abused, it can potentially lead to serious oral health risks.

The Harms of Excessive Alcohol Consumption on Oral Health

According to a Connecticut Department of Public Health message, alcohol abusers have a much higher rate of periodontal disease, decayed teeth, and precancerous lesions. Some problems to oral health caused by alcohol abuse include:

  • Delayed healing following oral surgery. Consumption of alcohol in excess can delay healing time, as alcohol can irritate oral tissue.
  • Tooth decay. Because of high sugar and acid content in alcoholic drinks, frequent consumption of alcohol can lead to increased tooth decay. Even more, if alcohol abuse inhibits proper oral hygiene measures, the detrimental effect on oral health can be even worse. Failing to brush and floss teeth regularly can result in tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Oral Cancer. Though more research must be done to fully understand alcohol’s contribution to high rates of oral cancer, the Oral Cancer Foundation acknowledges the danger of alcohol abuse. It states, “The dehydrating effect of alcohol on cell walls enhances the ability of tobacco carcinogens to permeate mouth tissues.” It continues to explain, “[N]utritional deficiencies associated with heavy drinking can lower the body’s natural ability to use antioxidants to prevent the formation of cancers.” Lastly, the Oral Cancer Foundation names a study that suggests cirrhosis of the liver leads to a change in texture of throat and esophagus tissue that may increase the likelihood of developing oral cancer.

Protect your oral and overall health by:

  • Drink alcohol in moderation, or avoid it altogether
  • Brush and floss at least twice daily
  • Visit your dentist to have your teeth and gums cleaned and checked every 6 months

With over 45 years of providing superior, individualized oral health care, Austin Oral Surgery’s legacy of quality care remains stronger than ever. Our team of surgeons shares a path to Board Certification and is well-trained in the full-scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery. For more information on how we can help you, please feel free to contact us or visit our website.