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Alcoholism and Your Dentist: How They Can Help Address the Issue

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Man holding a bottle of beer and notepadAlcohol has become a staple of late night parties and celebrations with family and friends. While the occasional alcoholic beverage wouldn’t hurt, the frequent indulgence in alcohol has been associated with a number of health complications, including depression, cancer and dementia. As alcohol abuse transcends the boundaries of age, gender and race, it is important to address the issue as soon as possible.

A Lack of Screening for Individuals Struggling with Alcohol Dependence

Chronic alcoholism affects a great number of people, although it is twice as common in men as it is in women. Recent reports show, moreover, that binge-drinking has fallen among the younger generation.

Even if chronic alcoholism affects a broad range of people, data suggests that health care professionals and physicians seldom screen for the condition. Further, complicating matters, patients struggling with the condition tend to deny their alcohol abuse.

Excessive Alcohol Intake Can Lead to Oral Cancer and other Health Complications

Experts have found that the excessive intake of alcohol can harm the teeth as well its underlying tissues. Moreover, they discovered that alcoholism raised the risk of developing oral cancer and complications in the cardiovascular and immune system.

Dental practitioners are, therefore, in a unique position to identify those dealing with alcohol abuse and do their part in addressing the issue. The alcohol smell on the breath, the broken teeth or dentures they have, the jaundiced skin and baggy eyes all point to the condition, after all. As such, they carry part of the responsibility of tackling the issue as patients sit on the dentist’s chair.

Overcoming one’s dependence on alcohol is the first step towards maintaining overall health. In the dental setting, addressing the issue is possible by conducting regular oral examinations and by obtaining a patient’s complete medical and dental history.

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