Many of us enjoy a drink but excessive drinking, over time, can lead to damage in many systems of the body, including the mouth. The overuse of alcohol may result in not paying sufficient attention to regular oral hygiene, risking gum disease and infections.
Heavy drinking, especially if combined with smoking, is a major cause of mouth cancer. The more alcohol consumed the greater the risk of developing cancer of the mouth, a potentially serious disease.
Red wine can contribute to tooth-staining and all alcohol may make your breath smell, so regular visits to the hygienist and good oral hygiene are essential.
The acidity in alcohol can contribute to the erosion of the tooth surface. In addition, regular binge drinking and vomiting will exacerbate the problem by exposing the teeth to the acid produced in the stomach.
If you suffer any liver damage, you may be prone to infections in and around the mouth, like cold sores, abscesses and candida (thrush).
Smoking damages almost every system of the body and is the largest single cause of death and disability in the UK and Ireland.
In addition to the more general health risks, smoking can have a number of adverse effects on oral health too. Among the most serious is the significantly increased risk of oral cancer and gum disease.
Smoking also stains and damages your teeth, due to the tar and nicotine content, and affects your sense of taste. It may cause bad breath, particularly if oral hygiene is not meticulously followed.
Giving up smoking is not easy, but the benefits start immediately and last a lifetime. It is never too late to stop, stopping smoking will prolong your life.