With the number of holidays throughout the summer months, plus a plethora of social gatherings, sprinkled with a vacation or two in between, summer is ripe for occasions where alcohol is likely to be involved. Where we’re not in a position to judge people about their drinking habits, we do want to inform both our existing and potential patients about an issue that we hear little about: alcohol’s effect on oral health.
Long-term alcohol abuse has been shown to have a variety of detrimental implications on oral and dental health. These effects include:
- Periodontal disease – Alcohol consumption has shown to impair neutrophil function, which helps to promote phagocytosis or the process in which bacteria is broken down by healthy cells. Without this process, bacteria overgrowth is exacerbated, leading to periodontal inflammation and bleeding. Alcohol also has a direct effect on the health of gum tissue and can increase the presence of gum tumors.
- Oral Cancer – Based on the results of extensive medical studies, it has been proven that there is a strong link between heavy alcohol consumption and oral cancer. People who drink more than three to four drinks a day have double to triple the risk of developing oral cancer than do non-drinkers.
- Dental cavities – Because heavy drinkers often experience dry mouth during the night, tooth decay is more prevalent within those subjects than those who abstain from drinking. If the individual drinks to the point of vomiting, the stomach acids present in the bile are likely to damage and destroy the structure of the tooth, also promoting decay.
- Compromised saliva production – Referred to as Xerostomia, the reduction in saliva can cause both recurrent tooth decay and enlargement of the parotid salivary glands.
With long-term dental care as a priority at Sterling Dental Center, we give each patient personal attention to ensure we put your mind and body at ease before during and after each and every procedure we perform. Our goal is that you enjoy going to the dentist. Call our friendly staff today!