Heavy alcohol use and alcohol use disorders in dental patients are associated with increased risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer, excessive bleeding during dental procedures, loss of tooth structure, periodontal disease, salivary gland disease, caries (cavities), and adverse drug reactions to local anesthetics and analgesics. Oral and pharyngeal cancer kills ~8,000 Americans each year. Dental students receive little education on alcohol use and no evidence-based, standardized curriculum is available to dental schools to educate their students about alcohol and oral health. The primary objective of this R25 educational grant application is to develop and evaluate the first online curriculum for dental schools to teach dental students about (1) the association between heavy alcohol use and oral health problems including oral and pharyngeal cancer, (2) systemic and oral biological effects of heavy alcohol use, (3) practical guidelines for the dental treatment of heavy drinking patients, (4) methods of screening dental patients for alcohol use, and (5) methods of brief intervention and referral to help patients reduce their alcohol use. This project is unique in that it will develop and evaluate the first online alcohol educational program specifically designed for dental students that can be integrated into dental school curricula. Exposure to this online program will increase dental student knowledge and skills at identifying and counseling patients experiencing or at-risk for oral health complications including oral and pharyngeal cancer.
This study could provide the first evidence-based alcohol education curriculum for dental students that can be integrated into dental school curricula. The online modules developed in this project will increase dental student knowledge and skills at identifying and counseling heavy drinking patients who are at risk for oral cancer and other oral health conditions and complications. Such identification could help dentists prevent complications, lower risk factors, and reduce morbidity and mortality.
|Miller, Peter M; Ravenel, Michele C; Mauldin, Mary P et al. (2014) An online alcohol and oral health curriculum for dental students. J Dent Educ 78:16-23|