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Community Dent Health. 1996 Dec;13(4):199-203.

Oral health in alcohol misusers.

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  • 1Royal College of Surgeons Department of Dental Sciences, King's College School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK.


One hundred and seven chronic alcohol misusers (mean age 42.9 years; range 21-65 years; 80 males) attending four centres in South East London were interviewed on their current and past alcohol consumption. Their nutritional status (body mass index (BMI) and mid arm muscle circumference) was also recorded. Each subject completed a dental and oral mucosal examination. Ninety four per cent of the sample consumed greater than 50 units of alcohol per week and 80 per cent greater than 100 units of alcohol per week. Smoking and alcohol misuse were found to be related, 81 per cent reporting both habits. Neither plaque index scores or mean subject pocket depths were correlated with alcohol consumption but both were positively correlated with the frequency and duration of smoking. Overall mean DMFT was 15.4; age specific mean DMFT and tooth loss of the sample were closely similar to the 1988 United Kingdom adult dental health survey data. The prevalence and severity of tooth wear and attrition were greater in the sample than levels described in the literature and these dental features may prove useful markers to the practitioner. Trauma to teeth and oral mucosae was noted in 25 per cent of the sample. Seven oral mucosal lesions (including one treated carcinoma) were detected; mucosal trauma could have acted as a co-factor. Furthermore, 21 per cent of the alcoholics were malnourished (BMI < 20). It is concluded that, unlike several reports from the United States, dental health in this sample of alcoholics is not compromised; however mucosal health is a cause for concern.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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