Alcohol Abuse May Someday be Screened by Your Dentist

 Alcohol abuse can cause mouth cancer and other dental diseases, according to a recent report published by the Royal College of Surgeon’s Dental Journal. As such, dentists have been encouraged to screen for mouth cancer and other dental diseases linked to alcohol abuse.  In fact, since people only tend to see their primary care physician when they are sick, but see dentists every six months for regular cleanings, dentists are in a better position to screen and treat dental diseases related to alcohol abuse.

If dentists inquire about alcohol consumption during regular exams, they may have the opportunity to reduce the risk of getting mouth cancer and dental disease. In fact, some dentists use advanced technology to identify mouth cancer at a very early stage. Identifying cancer at an early stage is associated with the greatest survival rate.   Cancer of the mouth may affect the larynx and esophagus as well.

Since dentist may be the first to notice mouth cancer symptoms, they are likely the first to be able to notice harmful alcohol abuse. Thus, a screening tool would be helpful in preventing cancer and treating cancer successfully.

The report noted that roughly 1 in 5 men and 1 in 7 women in the UK tend to drink excessively. The report went on to suggest that dentists who encourage moderation in drinking are able to help lift the social, economic and heath burdens  associated with alcohol abuse.

If you are interested in cosmetic dentistry, contact Dr. Mark Sweeney, an Austin Texas cosmetic dentist, for a consultation at 512-380-1300.