Dry January

22 Jan 2015

The blog entry was originally posted on the British Dental Health Foundation Blog Section

When I was asked if I was doing Dry January, the thought initially made me shudder. So called ‘dryathletes’ give up alcohol for a month and watch the pounds tumble off the waistline. After Christmas, who doesn’t want that?

Most of us know what potential damage alcohol can do. Liver disease tops the list, but very few of us take a second to think about where the real problem lies.

The first point of call for alcohol is the mouth. Alcohol is responsible for around four per cent of cancers in the UK, and it’s not just heavy drinkers who are affected. The more you drink and the more often you drink, the more you increase your risk of developing cancer mouth cancer.

Dry January LogoNow in its third year, the Dry January campaign aims to get you abstaining for a month. As mouth cancer campaigners, the British Dental Health Foundation fully supports those giving up alcohol for any period of time. Our key message is drinking alcohol to excess, a message many seem to ignore, given the high number of people admitting to binge drinking. From our point of view, that is why Dry January is important for reducing the risk of developing the disease.

Giving up is exactly what I’m doing, and here’s why:

  • People who have gone dry in previous Dry January campaigns have experienced a range of benefits including weight loss, sleeping better, saving money, and learning that they don’t need alcohol to enjoy themselves.
  • You are three times more likely to develop cancers of the mouth and throat by drinking above the recommended limits.
  • Alcohol is linked to over 60 different medical conditions, including strokes, heart disease, osteoporosis, raised blood pressure and a range of cancers including mouth, upper throat, food pipe, voice box, breast, bowel and liver.

If those reasons aren’t enough, here’s an exert from mouth cancer sufferer Gordon Mullen’s story:

It was brutal, really horrible. The side effects were horrific; you can’t eat, your whole mouth is covered in blisters, you can’t speak – I ended up with a feeding tube up my nose. I had to learn how to eat and speak again afterwards because the tongue doesn’t work the way it used to.

Join me and support our action against mouth cancer by giving up alcohol and donating money raised by visiting www.mouthcancer.org.

Written by Sharon Broom


Oral Health Foundation

The Oral Health Foundation is a charity that works to improve oral health by providing education, advice, and support to millions of people every year, changing lives for the better. Our mission is to support others in achieving a healthier life through better oral health. Our vision is to live in a world where everybody has a healthy mouth and is free of dental disease. Poor oral health can have a harmful and devastating effect on a person’s life – both for their physical health and mental wellbeing. We are determined to help more people achieve good oral health and have a better quality of life. Sadly, oral disease remains common, across the life course. We are taking the challenge to reduce the harm caused by poor oral health and the responsibility to create a healthier future for everybody. We do this because we believe that everybody deserves to have good oral health. To make sure this happens, by 2024, we will:

    • Work towards decreasing the prevalence of oral disease across communities.
    • Increase the number of people accessing our help and information services.
    • Diversify our range of resources to reach more communities.
    • Successfully campaign for policies which help people achieve healthier lives.
    • Generate new and nurture existing income streams that enable us to deliver our charitable objectives.

We are going to achieve success by:

    • Running awareness campaigns like National Smile Month and Mouth Cancer Action Month.
    • Giving anybody who needs it direct support through our Dental Helpline.
    • Influencing policy on subjects like dental access, sugar, and tobacco.
    • Providing consumer advice on oral health care products and working alongside manufacturers to make sure products do what they claim to do.
    • Creating resources and information that communicates positive oral health messages.
    • Working alongside others who share our passion for health and wellbeing.

To find out more about us, visit our website at https://www.dentalhealth.org/

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