Categorized | Health

Binge Drinking And Oral Health

Binge drinking is a topical subject, with thousands of 18 and 19 year olds settling into student life at universities and colleges all over the UK. Freshers’ week is over, but the pace of university life hardly slows, especially for first years who like to party hard and make the most of their time at uni. Binge drinking is not just a concern for students, but for people of all ages, as statistics show that binge drinking has become much more common over the course of the last decade; binge drinking is classified as drinking to excess, usually one or two nights per week, rather than drinking in moderation on a more regular basis.

Many of us are aware of the health impact of binge drinking for our major organs, but have you stopped to think what implications binge drinking has for your oral health. In recent years, a number of studies have linked oral health issues with an increased risk of serious general health issues and looking after your teeth and gums has never been more important.

 

How does drinking affect oral health?

Drinking alcohol has a number of effects on your body, including increasing the risk of oral health issues. Alcohol dehydrates the body and increases the risk of oral cancer, a form of cancer, which has become increasingly prevalent in the last decade. Of particular note is the increased number of cases of mouth cancer among younger people. The number of cases of oral cancer has doubled in the UK in the last 10 years and the major risk factors are drinking alcohol and smoking; if you drink and smoke, you are up to 30 times more likely to develop the disease than somebody who drinks in moderation and does not smoke.

Many alcoholic drinks also contain a lot of sugar, which increases the risk of cavities and gum disease, and many, such as wine, are acidic, which leads to erosion of the protective tooth enamel.

Drinking alcohol can also affect the aesthetic of your smile; if you are partial to a glass of red wine on a regular basis this is likely to contribute to staining. This can be devastating for confidence, especially if it is present alongside orthodontic issues. If this is troubling you, then seek expert orthodontic care and consider professional teeth whitening.

Drinking is one of the most common causes of trauma and accidents and alcohol is a major risk factor for dental and facial injuries.

 

Avoiding binge drinking

There is a lot of pressure to get involved in drinking games and immerse yourself in he drinking culture when you go to uni or head out to town on a Friday or Saturday night, but try to resist the urge to go crazy and stick to the recommended daily intake of alcohol (2-3 units for women and 3-4 units for men), avoid getting involved in games, which require doing a lot of shots and consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short space of time and try to alternate your drinks with a glass of water. If you are worried about other people questioning what you are drinking and why you are not drinking as much as them, order soft drinks and then tell your friends that you are drinking a spirit and a mixer; they will never know and you will wake up feeling much fresher the next day. Try to avoid drinking to excess on the days that you go out, pace yourself and know your limits.

If you are worried that you are drinking too much and you have started to notice that you are feeling ill and picking up infections and illnesses all the time and you’re struggling to cope, ask for help. There is no shame in asking for a bit of advice or seeing your doctor and discussing things you can do to help boost your health and keep harmful diseases at bay.

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