The Australian Dental Association has warned that oral cancers, tooth decay, and gum disease can increase due to the reported increased alcohol consumption during COVID-19.
A report by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) found that, nearly one in
seven (13%) Australian alcohol users were concerned about the amount of alcohol they or someone
in their household is consuming, and 14% reported that they’ve been consuming alcohol daily.
Consumer data according to the FARE report indicates there have been significant increases in
packaged liquor sales since the beginning of COVID-19 lockdowns in Australia, particularly for
online sales and home delivery.
This increase in alcohol use can lead to a range of mouth-related health issues including oral
cancers, tooth decay and gum disease warns the Australian Dental Association (ADA). The Australian Dental Association is the peak national body for dentists.
According to the ADA, the country already has a high rate of tooth decay. The increased alcohol use will add to existing oral health issues.
Strong evidence shows that long-term high levels of alcohol consumption alone increases the risk of oral cancer by about four-fold,” said Professor Michael McCullough from the University of Melbourne and the ADA’s Specialist Working Group, as per the ADA website.Professor Michael McCullough, University of Melbourne, member of ADA’s Specialist Working Group
According to professor McCullough, over four people each day are diagnosed with oral cancer in Australia, and the five year survival is only about 60%.
As early diagnosis is key to minimize morbidity and mortality from oral cancer, the ADA encourages people to get examined by a dentist if there are troubling areas in the mouth.
However, as prevention is better than cure, the ADA recommends preventive measures such as reducing alcohol consumption to help prevent oral cancer.