Call for stronger measures against alcohol abuse

The British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) has backed the British Medical Association’s (BMA) call for the government to do more to tackle alcohol misuse in the UK.

Excessive drinking has been linked to more than 60 medical conditions, including several cancers, as well as heart disease, hepatitis and diabetes.

Alcohol also increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, larynx and oesophagus.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the BDHF Foundation, commented: ‘We fully support the British Medical Association’s call for greater control of the misuse of alcohol.

‘Alcohol is a major risk factor for mouth cancer and can cause other oral health problems.

‘Of course alcohol can also have a detrimental effect on the rest of the body.

‘The Foundation is currently working hard to make the public aware of the link between oral health and overall body health and this year’s National Smile Month• campaign will use the tagline Brush for Health as part of this.

‘Poor gum health is known to cause a range of conditions such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes and low birth weight babies.

‘At the same time a number of general health conditions are thought to contribute to poor gum health.

“With this in mind, it is clear that tackling alcohol misuse must become a real health priority in this country.’

The BMA’s recently published report – Alcohol Misuse – Tackling the UK Epidemic – points out that the UK has one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption in Europe, with significant numbers of men and women regularly exceeding the recommended guidelines.

It recommends introducing higher taxes on alcoholic drinks and an end to irresponsible promotions.

It also wants to see a reduction in the legal driving limit from 80mg/100ml down to 50mg/100ml, as well as labels on all alcohol products giving details of units of alcohol, recommended guidelines and a warning about the dangers of excessive consumption.

The BMA’s head of science and ethics, Dr Vivienne Nathanson said: "Alcohol misuse not only costs lives it also costs the country many millions of pounds.

She added that the NHS ‘spends millions every year on treating and dealing with alcohol problems.’

• National Smile Month this year will be a joint event organised to address oral health issues in the US as well as the UK.

Taking place from 18 May until 17 June, the event will use the theme Brush for Health to educate the public on the importance of good oral healthcare to general wellbeing.

To get involved or for your free Campaign Handbook, call the BDHF on 0870 770 4000 or email [email protected].

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