Polk City Dentist Discusses Alcohol’s Effect on Oral Health

Throughout recorded history, humans have consumed alcoholic beverages as a part of rituals, celebrations, and periods of mourning. In moderation, alcohol consumption may be beneficial to your health, especially heart health. In excess, the opposite is true. Too much alcohol can increase your risk of health problems. Since alcohol comes into contact with your mouth first and foremost, your Polk City dentist Dr. Ryan Hussong discusses the connection between alcohol and oral health.

The Facts

Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to diseases including breast cancer, heart disease, and liver disease. The following statistics outline oral health issues that are associated with alcohol abuse.

  • In the US, 7.4% of the population meets the criteria for alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
  • Over 80% of alcohol abusers have some level of tooth decay and moderate to severe gum disease. One third of them also have lesions in the mouth that can lead to cancer.
  • Alcohol contains ethanol, which irritates the oral cavity and can damage cellular DNA and function, which increases your risk of oral cancer.
  • About 30,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Nearly 8,000 of them will succumb to the disease.
  • Alcohol can act as a solvent and assist harmful chemicals to enter soft oral tissues. This is especially dangerous when alcohol is consumed in conjunction with tobacco use.
  • Drinking alcohol reduces your saliva production, leading to dry mouth. Without enough saliva, bacteria accumulation increases, as does your risk for tooth decay and gum disease.

If alcohol causes damage that requires dental treatment, continued alcohol consumption can cause serious complications with the treatment or healing process. To learn more about cavity prevention and treatment, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hussong, call Cornerstone Dental at (515) 984-6001. We serve families from Des Moines, Polk City, Ames, Ankeny, Alleman, Bondurant, Grimes, Johnston, and the surrounding communities.