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Alcohol, Cancer And Tooth Decay

alcohol tooth decay
Published By Dr. Rachel Hall at 26 September, 2016

What Is The Link Between Alcohol and Dental Disease

Alcohol use is a known risk factor for oral cancer (second only to tobacco use), gum disease and tooth decay.

Alcohol causes dehydration and a dry mouth. When used occasionally, this may not be a big problem, however, when used regularly and in large amounts, alcohol can cause the major salivary glands to swell up and reduce the amount of saliva they produce.

This causes a chronic dry mouth which increases the risk of tooth decay. Acidic drinks such as wine severely erode teeth which wear and discolours the teeth and makes them sensitive to cold and hot.

Alcohol abuse and binge drinking are also responsible for a large number of injuries, especially in younger people from accidental injuries and chipped teeth to significant trauma to the face, jaws and teeth.

Drinking can damage the liver, but it can also damage other parts of the body as well. In fact, alcohol is so toxic that it can damage almost every organ if people drink excessively enough. One of the less talked about problems caused by this type of substance abuse is gum disease.

Alcohol abuse can lead to gum disease:

  • it causes irritation to the gum tissue
  • alcohol reduces the body’s ability to fight infection
  • individuals who are involved in substance abuse tend to have poor dental hygiene habits
  • alcoholics tend to eat poorly, and this leads to nutritional deficiencies
  • deficiencies in diet can also lower the effectiveness of the immune system and increase the likelihood of developing gum disease.

The problem with alcohol is that it is a toxin which:

  1. impairs liver function
  2. impairs immune function.
  3. depletes the body of many essential nutrients – B vitamins, folic acid, vitamins C and K, zinc, magnesium, potassium and iron
  4. lessens the liver’s ability to process fat – leading to a reduction in fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A and D
  5. leads to liver toxicity and disease
  6. changes blood sugar levels and increases the risk for diabetes
  7. is pro-inflammatory
  8. depletes your body of important antioxidants like glutathione.

Consumption of alcohol increases the risk of developing a long list of health conditions including breast cancer, oral cancers, heart disease, strokes and cirrhosis of the liver. Research shows that high alcohol intake can also damage your mental health, impair memory skills and reduce fertility.

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security because you only have the occasional beer or glass of wine, to put it simply alcohol is a poison and your liver has to work excessively to rid it from your system every time you have a drink.

Alcohol even in small amounts affects your ability to absorb nutrients for the following reasons:

Alcohol damages the cells of the stomach – increasing acid production and decreasing the stomach’s ability to absorb nutrients.

In order for the liver to breakdown and metabolise alcohol it has to use up stores of essential vitamins.

The diuretic effects of alcohol deplete vitamins and minerals such as zinc, magnesium and potassium.

Alcohol decreases digestive enzymes necessary for food breakdown and nutrient absorption.

Alcohol has been reported to be good for your health but here I beg to differ, alcohol creates a lot of extra workloads and unnecessary stress for your body especially your liver. As it depletes you of essential vitamins and minerals and increases your risk for cancer I do not believe that alcohol consumption can be part of a truly healthy lifestyle.


  • Dr. Rachel Hall

    Dr. Rachel Hall

    Rachel is the founder and principal dentist at Evolve Dental Healing with over 25 years experience, practicing holistically since 2001. Not your typical dentist, Rachel is a passionate opinion leader, challenging convention to empower people to make better dental and health choices, helping thousands to have healthy natural smiles. A respected writer and presenter on holistic dentistry, health and wellness it is Rachel’s mission to revolutionise the way people look at their dental health.

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