Screenings for oral cancer are one of the most important parts of regular check-ups, and at Advantage Dentistry in Kenmore, we’re determined to help upkeep every aspect of our patients’ oral health. To that end, we wanted to pass along some recent findings by the American Society of Clinical Oncology linking oral cancer to alcohol.
Tobacco usage and HPV are the best-known and researched causes of oral cancer. We’ve known for a long time that smoking combined with heavy drinking is extremely dangerous, but scientists had difficulty determining the carcinogenic effect of alcohol on its own. After reviewing the available literature, the ASCO concluded that 5% of new cancers globally are caused by alcohol and that oral and oropharyngeal cancers are among the types alcohol causes. It may be that alcohol damages the soft tissue of the mouth and that the more frequently it has to rebuild, the likelier it is that some DNA will be miscopied. But regardless of the exact mechanism, it seems that even light drinking poses a risk, although heavy drinking is worse. The study also found that when people stop drinking, their risk of cancer specifically in the mouth and oropharynx declines to that of people who never drank.