Most people are already aware of how chronic heavy drinking affects cardiovascular health and causes serious diseases. But did you know alcoholism can do as much damage to oral health? The matter is not just about bad breath and occasional vomiting when hangover strikes.
So how does alcohol impacts dental health?
Reduced Effectiveness of Dental Anaesthetics
There will come a time when an alcoholic will need to see a family or NHS dentist in Slough for a dental procedure. Using tooth extraction as an example, the effectiveness of dental anaesthetic is reduced when the patient is a heavy drinker. This is because dental anaesthetics are metabolised in the liver. And before the patient could even take the chance to start the procedure, the numbing effect already starts to fade because the liver has already began the metabolism.
Higher Risk of Oral Cancer
Alcoholic individuals have higher risk of oral cancer. When alcohol breaks down, it binds to the proteins found in the oral cavity causing inflammation. As this happens, cancer cells can begin to develop. Often, cancerous cells are found on or under the tongue and on the lips.
Having a dry mouth is a common effect of alcohol consumption. While this may not sound a cause of concern, it is indeed. The saliva helps fight bacteria in the mouth and with it insufficient, you are at a higher risk of tooth decay and other infections.
Alcohol can also cause dehydration, which in turn can result to inflammation of the parotid salivary glands once the salivary flow is interrupted.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Alcoholism can also affect one’s oral hygiene. Because one is too drunk to even stay awake or walk, chances are, he skips brushing and flossing his teeth. This is bad as alcohol contains high amounts of acid, which is the leading cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
Alcohol may have amazing benefits to general health when consumed in small amounts. However, heavy drinking does exactly the opposite and can significantly affect dental health. Limiting alcohol consumption, proper oral hygiene, and regular visits to the dentist are the best bet to ensure total oral health.