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International Journal of Dentistry
Volume 2010, Article ID 786503, 6 pages
Research Article

Tooth Decay in Alcohol Abusers Compared to Alcohol and Drug Abusers

1Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, New York University College of Dentistry, 250 Park Avenue South—6th Floor, New York, NY 10003-1402, USA
2Department of Oral Medicine, King's College London, Denmark Hill Campus, London SE5 9RW, UK
3Department of Clinical Biochemistry, King's College London, Denmark Hill Campus, London SE5 9RW, UK
4The Welcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL, 210 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK

Received 3 November 2009; Accepted 11 January 2010

Academic Editor: Alexandre R. Vieira

Copyright © 2010 Ananda P. Dasanayake et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Alcohol and drug abuse are detrimental to general and oral health. Though we know the effects of these harmful habits on oral mucosa, their independent and combined effect on the dental caries experience is unknown and worthy of investigation. We compared 363 “alcohol only” abusers to 300 “alcohol and drug” abusers to test the hypothesis that various components of their dental caries experience are significantly different due to plausible sociobiological explanations. After controlling for the potential confounders, we observe that the “alcohol and drug” group had a 38% higher risk of having decayed teeth compared to the “alcohol only” group ( 𝑃 < . 0 5 ). As expected, those who belonged to a higher social class ( O R = 1 . 9 8 ; 95%   C I = 1 . 4 3 –2.75) and drank wine ( O R = 1 . 8 5 ; 95%   C I = 1 . 1 6 –2.96) had a higher risk of having more filled teeth. We conclude that the risk of tooth decay among “alcohol only” abusers is significantly lower compared to “alcohol and drug” abusers.