Dental Health
December 22, 2015
Alcoholism and dental health

Regular moderate alcohol consumption (up to the equivalent of two beers or two small glasses of wine per day) can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. In particular, antioxidants in red wine can be beneficial to cardiovascular health. However, the risk of oral and pharyngeal cancers tends to increase with the amount of alcohol consumed and binge drinking – more than the equivalent alcohol content of five beers or five small glasses of wine in one session – seriously increases the harmful effects of alcohol.{{more}}

Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to a range of health, social and behavioural problems.

Alcohol is absorbed from the stomach into the blood stream and affects the brain; it is a depressant and, in some individuals, can give rise to violent and irrational behaviour. Excessive alcohol consumption leads to liver damage, alcohol dependency, memory loss, cardiovascular disease, stomach ulcers, impotence, low birth weight babies, impaired motor skills, wrinkles and early ageing.

Alcohol is consumed orally and as a result, can have some detrimental effects on the same. It may have a direct toxic effect on the gums and surrounding tissues that support the teeth, causing or aggravating gingivitis, which can then lead to tooth loss.

Because alcohol causes dehydration, the salivary flow will be compromised, causing Xerostomia (dry mouth) especially at nights. Heavy drinkers tend to neglect both personal and professional health care; they may also consume higher levels of refined carbohydrates. Heavy drinking can also lead to frequent vomiting and the vomit is extremely acidic. All these occurrences increase the risk of dental caries.

Alcohol drinking has been associated with oral cancer. It triggers an inflammatory response in the body, causing cancerous cells to develop in most severe cases. Oral cancer most often appears on the lips or tongue, but can occur under the tongue, on the palate or on the gums.

Dental health is golden!

This topic is quite appropriate in this festive period in St Vincent and the Grenadines, as alcohol consumption is prominent during these celebrations. As mentioned above, it is quite alright to have a drink, as long as it is done in moderation.

I will take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. Remember, please do not drink and drive!

Dr Keith John

email:[email protected]

Clinic: SVG Dental Corporation

Telephone: 784-456-2220

Cell: 784-526-0752