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RCS: Dentists should monitor drink

Thursday April 5th 2012

Recognising the signs of oral cancer through excessive drinking is part of the job of being a dentist, according to experts in the Royal College of Surgeon's Dental Journal.

Dentists should be aware of the patient's general health and the fact that many alcoholic drinks are high in sugar and contribute to dental caries. Questionnaires could also be filled in to gauge consumption levels.

The experts writing in the Royal College of Surgeon's Dental Journal, said: "Alcohol misuse can impact on the oral health of patients attending primary care services in numerous ways.

"Excessive alcohol consumption is not only a risk factor for sustaining orofacial injury (either through falls, road traffic accidents or interpersonal violence) but also implicated in the aetiology of potentially fatal oral disease, including cancers of the mouth, larynx, pharynx and oesophagus."

Experts, including those at the University of Cardiff added: "After screening, the individuals identified as misusing alcohol could then be offered treatment, including brief motivational advice sessions delivered by hygienists or dental nurses."

Copyright Press Association 2012

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