You may already know that excessive drinking can lead to liver disease. However, new research is now showing that indulging in alcohol may also cause cancer of the mouth.
Oral cancer can be deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over a quarter of the 30,000 people diagnosed with the disease each year will die from it. The best way to beat the disease is through prevention, according to recent news. Experts agree that regular dental check-ups should be conducted every six months. At that time, your dentist can examine your mouth and neck for any sores or lumps, which can be precursors for the illness.
Alcohol heightens the risk for oral cancers because of several reasons. It can irritate the mouth and gum tissue, even damaging DNA. Additionally, the dehydration that comes with excessive drinking may allow harmful chemicals, such as those in cigarette smoke, to build and accumulate. These would otherwise be carried away by saliva.
Alcohol also provides an open door for harmful substances to travel through the mouth that would otherwise have a hard time passing through tissue. Finally, too much alcohol can impede the immune system’s response to harmful chemicals. This allows time for bacteria to grow and fester, resulting in infection.
So how much alcohol is cause for concern? The risk for periodontal problems noticeably increases when weekly drinking reaches in excess of ten drinks. While this may sound like a lot, it really means that having just one to two drinks a day may put you at increased risk.