Know the risks of smoking and oral health

November 17, 2014

When it comes to tobacco and your oral health, smoking can cause problems ranging from cavities to cancer.
Yes, we all know that smoking isn’t good for us. It can cause heart disease, cancer and its smells can linger on our breath and clothes.

When it comes to our oral health, tobacco can cause equal amounts of grief. When it comes to appearances, smoking can lead to yellow teeth, periodontitis and tooth decay, as well as form mouth sores or lesions that do not heal.

You basically become unkissable.
Gum disease
Smoking and gum disease go hand in hand. Tobacco reduces blood flow to the gums, depriving them of life-giving oxygen and nutrients, as well as making them vulnerable to bacterial infection.

According to some studies, smokers are about four times as likely to have periodontitis than people who have never smoked. If unchecked, gum disease can lead to complete destruction of the tooth’s supporting tissues, abscesses and loss of teeth.
Oral cancers
But the most severe impact on your oral health can be cancer, including cancers of the tongue, mouth, gums, tonsils and pharynx. According to the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario, the death rate of oral cancers exceeds the death rate from cervical cancer.
Chewing tobacco doesn’t help
Just because you chew tobacco instead of smoke cigarettes, you won't be getting the get-out-of-the-doctor’s-office-free card. Tobacco taken this way is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth, so it’s even more addictive than smoking cigarettes, pipe or cigars.

Those who love chaw can also suffer permanent gum and bone loss, unlike smokers, who usually recover the loss after quitting.
Other problems
Tobacco can also cause:

  • Tartar buildup
  • Jaw bone loss
  • Shifting teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Cavities
  • Smoker’s lip
  • An altered sense of taste and smell
  • Delayed wound healing

In conclusion
Well, you know what the best solution is -- give up smoking. Go to your doctor and get a plan and support for stopping, whether it’s cold turkey or a gradual tapering off. You’ll breathe easier, your mouth will thank you, and you’ll be made kissable again.

Know the risks of smoking and oral health
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