Is alcohol putting your mouth at risk?
People are being urged to reduce the amount of alcohol they drink to help protect their mouths from cancer and injuries.
NHS Nottinghamshire County's Oral Health Promotion Team has been working with dental practices to highlight the dangers as part of Alcohol Awareness week (18-24 October 2010).
Heavy drinkers and smokers are 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer than non-smokers and non-drinkers.
A national study also found that nearly a quarter of facial injuries, across all age groups in the UK, were associated with alcohol consumption and half (51%) of assault victims had drunk alcohol within four hours of the injury.
The Oral Health Promotion Team has been working with 30 dental practices across the county to actively promote alcohol awareness.
Rebecca Soong-Towell, Oral Health Promotion Advisor, said 'Our Incredible Mouths programme encourages our dental practices to ask all patients how much alcohol they drink so they can highlight the risks and signpost them to relevant support services. Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink is just as important to good oral health as brushing your teeth regularly and eating a balanced diet.
Justine Halls, Dental Nurse and Oral Health Promotion Advisor, added: 'People often don't realise how many units of alcohol they drink. There could be ten units in a bottle of red wine. Sticking to the recommended government guidelines of alcohol units is a good place to start.'
The recommended alcohol guidelines per day are for up to four units for a man and up to three units for a woman. One unit equals half a pint of beer or lager (ABV 3.6%), half a small glass of wine (85ml) (ABV 12%) or one 25ml measure of spirits (ABV 40%).
Remember for a healthy mouth you should:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste (remember spit out do not rinse with water)
- Eat a healthy balanced diet. Reduce sugary food and drink to meal times only
- Visit the dentist regularly for a check up
- Tobacco and alcohol use increases the risk of mouth cancer.
Many NHS Dental practices across Nottinghamshire are accepting new patients. If you need help finding one, phone our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 028 3693.
For more advice on alcohol, speak to your GP or dentist.