May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, a time where the international community works to lessen tobacco use to help promote better health for all of the world’s citizens. In recognition of the event, the team at Wow Dental in Dallas want to spread the word regarding the devastating effects of tobacco on oral health.
Cigarettes, cigars, smokeless varieties, and all other forms of tobacco pose a risk to your oral health, and the risks go well beyond the traditional association of tobacco use and oral cancers. To help you understand what tobacco can do, here is what you need to know.
Increased Cancer Risks
Approximately 80 percent of people suffering from a form of oral cancer use at least one form of tobacco product. Cigarettes can contain over 60 known carcinogens, substances recognized as cancer-causing, and smoking is considered responsible for 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths. Cigar and pipe smokers are also at increased risk for lung cancer as well as cancers of the oral cavity and the lips.
Smokeless tobacco including chewing tobacco and snuff contain upwards of 28 known carcinogens and increase the risk of developing cancers of the cheek, gums, and lips.
Being a tobacco user also increases your risk of dying from cancer. For example, regular cigar smokers who end up with oral, esophageal or laryngeal cancer are four to 10 times more likely to die than their nonsmoking counterparts.
Nicotine reduces blood flow to the gums, increasing your risk of developing gum disease and oral infections regardless of how it is introduced into the body. Smoking can also increase symptoms of dry mouth, making it easier for bacteria to flourish, and inflammation caused by tobacco use in any form also makes gum disease more likely.
Approximately 50 percent of all smokers have gum disease and, to make matters worse, smoking can decrease the effectiveness of any treatment your dentist may prescribe.
Gum disease can ultimately affect the bone structure that is supporting your teeth as well as lead to gum recession. Both of these facts can increase your risk of tooth loss and can result in infections of the jaw bone, resulting in the need to remove infected tissue and forever changing your face.
Becoming Tobacco Free
Becoming tobacco-free can be a challenge as nicotine is a highly addictive substance. If you are interested in quitting tobacco, your Dallas-area dentist can help you find the support you need to succeed.
Make sure your dentist at Wow Dental is aware of your tobacco use and keep all of your regularly scheduled appointments so they can monitor your oral health. If you decide to quit, your gums can heal with supportive treatment. So, if you want to ensure your long-term health, consider stopping today.