How drinking too much alcohol during COVID19 may cause serious damage to your oral health

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During the pandemic so far, the amount Australians have been drinking on-premises has dropped to moderate levels. That’s because a lot of bars, clubs, pubs, restaurants, venues and festivals have had to close during COVID-19.

As a result, licensed liquor outlets all over Australia have seen big declines in alcohol consumption and business. So does that mean we’re drinking less?

Are Australians drinking less during COVID-19?

Yes & no. At licensed liquor outlets, Aussies are drinking less because of COVID-19 closures, but in Aussie homes it’s a different story.

For a lot of Australians out of work with cabin fever, drinking at home has become a new habit to help relieve the stress of their personal pandemic experience. This increase in home alcohol consumption is reflected by big increases in cheap packaged liquor sales – more bang for your buck under Australia’s complicated alcohol tax system.

Can drinking more during COVID-19 affect your oral health?

Yes. The reality check when it comes to drinking to beat the COVID-19 blues each evening is realising that this pandemic is far from over. Despite going on for nearly 9 months, there is still no end in sight. Consuming alcohol every day indefinitely as COVID-19 continues will increase your risk of oral health issues and complications significantly.

The ADA warns of looming oral health crisis for frequent drinkers during COVID-19

In September 2020, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) issued a stark warning to those Aussies drinking more frequently to cope with COVID boredom, stress and anxiety, including the 14% of drinkers that drink daily.

According to the ADA, if you drink alcohol daily – even a few beers or a couple of glasses of wine – you may be setting yourself up for some pretty serious oral health issues in the short and long term.

How can drinking alcohol damage your teeth and gums?

Alcohol can damage your teeth and gums as much as sugary and/or refined carbohydrates can – because they have similar effects. They both cause tooth decay, tooth erosion, cavities, gum disease and tooth loss in a similar ways.

Excessive alcohol drinking increases your risk for oral cancer

Additionally, there is clinical evidence that consuming high levels of alcohol long term increases your risk for oral cancer significantly. According to the ADA, the risk is four-fold. Early detection and diagnosis is essential. Key symptoms to look out for are any changes in your oral cavity, including lumps, bumps and ulcers as well as changes in soft tissue colour and texture.

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