Some of the risks of smoking tobacco or cigarettes, such as cancer and other lung diseases, are well documented in the media. But are you aware of the ways that tobacco affects your dental health?
Consuming tobacco orally exposes your mouth to a host of harmful chemicals that disrupt normal dental processes. If you chew tobacco, the amount of sugar in chewing tobacco can erode your teeth’s enamel. Tobacco also stains teeth, creating ugly discolorations that ruin the appearance of your smile. Furthermore, the chemicals in chewing tobacco can cause gum infections, which can lead to tooth loss.
Inhaling tobacco smoke also increases your risk for gum disease because it weakens the body’s immune system, making it harder for gums to heal if they are infected. One study showed that smokers had twice the risk for gum disease than nonsmokers. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research also wrote that it was more difficult for dentists to treat smokers with gum disease than nonsmokers who had the same issues. Many dentists are forced to recommend quitting smoking to their gum disease patients in order to aid their recovery.
Also, lung cancer is not the only type of cancer smokers are at risk for. Oral cancer can also affect smokers, damaging the lips, tongue, gums, and teeth. Johns Hopkins Medicine states that smokers are 10 times more likely to develop oral cancer than nonsmokers. Whether you use cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, or snuff, any form of tobacco carries a diverse collection of carcinogens that negatively affect your health.
Therefore, if you want healthy teeth, tobacco should be included on the list of substances to avoid. Unlike sweets, which are fine if consumed in moderation, the risks associated with tobacco mean that you shouldn’t use it at all if you want to live a long and healthy life. If you’ve never used tobacco in your life, you don’t need to start. And if you smoke or chew tobacco, you should probably quit.
If you are suffering from the negative effects of oral cancer or gum disease caused by tobacco use, Elite Dental Group may be able to help you through oral surgery and other treatments. If your teeth have been stained by tobacco usage, we can get them looking bright, white, and shiny through our teeth whitening services. We understand the dental challenges faced by tobacco users and are ready to help in any way we can.