Study links alcohol abuse with higher incidence of oral health maladies

Patients with alcohol abuse problems also show a higher incidence of periodontal disease, tooth decay and potentially precancerous oral lesions, according to recent study results from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicinee. As part of the study, 24 male and 10 female patients at a rehabilitation center for alcohol abuse in Buffalo provided information on their dental hygiene habits and lifestyle behaviors and received a dental exam. Oral health was assessed based on the presence of plaque, periodontal inflammation, DMF index, number of teeth showing enamel loss and an examination of the tongue, cheeks and palate for oral lesions.

From the American Dental Association:
Study links alcohol abuse with higher incidence of oral health maladies

Patients with alcohol abuse problems also show a higher incidence of periodontal disease, tooth decay and potentially precancerous oral lesions, according to recent study results from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine.

As part of the study, 24 male and 10 female patients at a rehabilitation center for alcohol abuse in Buffalo provided information on their dental hygiene habits and lifestyle behaviors and received a dental exam. Oral health was assessed based on the presence of plaque, periodontal inflammation, DMF index, number of teeth showing enamel loss and an examination of the tongue, cheeks and palate for oral lesions.

In all, 85 percent of the study group rated the condition of their teeth and mouths as “fair” or “poor.” Nearly as many (82 percent) had moderate to severe gum inflammation and more than two-thirds showed heavy accumulation of dental plaque.

Fifteen percent of the subjects had missing teeth, with 41 percent of the remaining teeth showing signs of enamel erosion. In addition, 79 percent of those studied had at least one decayed tooth, with an average of 3.2 decayed teeth per subject overall, while more than one-third had potentially precancerous oral lesions. This rate of incidence is much higher than in the general population, the researchers said.

“This pilot study shows these members of society are in great need of interventions that help them protect their oral health,” said study co-author Dr. Sebastian Ciancio, chair of the UB Department of Periodontics and Endodontics. “In light of the growing body of evidence showing a significant link between oral health and other serious chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, periodontal disease in this population represents a substantial public-health problem.”

Based on these findings, UB researchers are planning to conduct a larger study of oral health among alcoholics to develop rational measures for preventing oral disease this population.

SOURCE: State University of New York at Buffalo news releases, 3/12/03.

1 COMMENT

  1. Seems odd that a lot of Americans are so caught up with paying insurance companies to get medical care and dental care. Why not just save the money and use it for actually paying for the cheap medical and affordable dental work that you need. . .Are there any other groups other than OPtumhealth.com (medical) or healthsouk.com (dental, dentistry) that provides an opportunity for people to pay their doctor directly?

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