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Oral Cancer and Alcohol

The tasting of a good red wineApril is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and Charlotte Dentistry® is helping its patients better understand this disease and treatment as part of the event.

Alcohol abuse has been identified as the second largest risk factor for oral cancer, behind tobacco. Alcohol can dehydrate the mouth, causing cell damage, and nutritional deficiencies that can come from heavy drinking may also lower the body’s ability to utilize antioxidants to prevent cancerous cells from forming.

Alcohol abuse can also lead to cirrhosis of the liver. A symptom of this disease can be a change in mouth and throat tissues, and while researchers are still studying this phenomenon to see if there is a link with oral cancer, there seems to be evidence suggesting this.

When used in conjunction with tobacco (as it often is), alcohol can be an especially troublesome carcinogen. The dehydrating effect makes it easier for the carcinogens in tobacco to penetrate cell walls, enhancing their impact.

But even if you’ve used alcohol and tobacco to excess, you can still make changes. Eliminating tobacco, and eliminating or reducing alcohol intake can immediately reduce oral cancer risk.

In fact, within 10 years, you can reduce your risk of oral cancer to that of any other non-smoker or non-drinker. Something, certainly, to consider.

Would You Like To Know More about alcohol use and oral cancer? Use the        “Ask The Expert” feature on our website, call us, or bring in questions during your next office visit.

We are delighted to share information that can improve your health and your life.

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