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The relevance of alcohol to dental practice

Key Points

  • Summarises the epidemiology of alcohol consumption in England and current alcohol guidelines.

  • Discusses how patients can be stratified into risk categories based on their alcohol consumption and what advice dental professionals should be giving.

  • Outlines current evidence of the effects of alcohol on oral health.


Alcohol is a very widely used drug which can cause dental disease and influence dental treatment. It is therefore important that dental professionals take an alcohol history from all patients and are aware of how to give alcohol reduction advice. This article discusses the impact of alcohol on oral health, including oral cancer, trauma, halitosis, tooth wear, periodontal disease and caries, with reference to the available literature. It also outlines current alcohol risk level advice and guidance regarding giving alcohol reduction advice in a dental setting.

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Correspondence to R. Grocock.

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Grocock, R. The relevance of alcohol to dental practice. Br Dent J 223, 895–899 (2017).

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