Brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly are important parts of dental hygiene, but maintaining dental health relies on other factors as well. Recently, researchers have found that drinking alcohol can contribute to tooth decay and even oral cancer. To maintain oral health (as well as general health), it’s important to moderate drinking.
Oral cancer affects 30,000 Americans each year. Most oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which is very similar to some skin cancers. Generally, the first signs of oral cancer are sores or lesions on the inside of the patient’s mouth or in the back of the throat. Pain or difficulty swallowing often accompanies the sores. The American Cancer Society reports that up to 80 percent of oral cancer sufferers are frequent drinkers. Smoking also significantly increases your risk of oral cancer.
Moderate drinking seems to have little effect on oral cancer risk. Heavy alcohol consumption — over 20 drinks per week — as well as any tobacco usage can be extremely dangerous, though. If you have any questions about oral health, contact A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe today.