Tobacco Use and Oral Health

February 13, 2018 Published by Leave your thoughts
Patient holding cigarette and considering oral health concerns

You know that smoking is bad for your health, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that smoking is also bad for your oral health.

What Are the Dental Issues Caused by Tobacco Use?

Tobacco use can cause issues that are as mild as bad breath or as severe as oral cancer. Other issues include:

  • Stained teeth
  • Dulled sense of taste and smell
  • Slow healing after dental surgery or tooth extractions
  • Difficulty in being able to correct cosmetic dental problems
  • Inflammation of the salivary gland openings on the roof of the mouth
  • Increase of plaque and tartar buildup
  • Loss of bone within the jaw
  • Gum disease

Tobacco use causes gum disease because it affects the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth, and smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells. Smokers are more susceptible to infections due to this interference. Smoking also impairs blood flow to the gums, which affects wound healing.

What Kinds of Tobacco Cause Oral Health Problems?

When you thinking of tobacco use, you may just picture a cigarette, but cigarettes are only one of the tobacco products that cause dental issues. Cigar smokers are shown to experience jawbone and tooth loss at the same rate as those who smoke cigarettes. Pipe smokers have a similar risk of tooth loss as cigarette smokers. Pipe and cigar smokers are also at risk for oral and throat cancers, as well as bad breath, stained teeth, and an increased risk of gum disease.

Smokeless tobacco products like snuff and chewing tobacco are also bad for your oral health. Chewing tobacco contains higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco can also irritate your gum tissue, which causes your gums to recede from your teeth, exposing your tooth roots and resulting in an increased risk of tooth decay. Sugars are often added to smokeless tobacco to flavor the products, contributing to an increased risk of tooth decay.

How Can a Tobacco User Protect Their Oral Health?

The only way to ensure good oral health is to stop smoking. The American Cancer Society says that about 90% of people with cancer of the throat, tongue, lips, and mouth use tobacco, and smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop these kinds of cancers. There are a number of ways to kick the habit, including nicotine gum and patches, smoking cessation classes and support groups, and even herbal remedies and hypnosis.

Take care of your oral health and stop smoking today. Call us today to schedule an appointment for a check-up and cleaning to ensure that you’re on the right track to a healthy smile!

Let us help you get a healthy, beautiful smile! – Contact Us

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