You are probably aware that tobacco can cause heart disease and a variety of cancers. What you may not know is that tobacco is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

The truth is, it's a lot harder to look and feel your best if you use tobacco products. If you smoke, talk to us today about how tobacco is affecting your oral health.

Smoking Tobacco

Smoking tobacco can cause serious health problems and can also affect the appearance and health of your mouth and gums.

Side Effects

Tobacco products damage your gum tissue and exposes the tooth roots. Other side effects include:

  • Nicotine addiction
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste
  • Bad breath, stained teeth and recession of the gum line
  • Accumulation of tartar (calculus) and plaque
  • Increased sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Delayed healing after dental work
  • Increased heart rate
  • Possible breathing difficulties and/or a "smoker's cough"

Risk Factors

No matter how long you have smoked, quitting can quickly decrease your risk of developing:

  • Oral and pharyngeal (throat) cancers
  • Cancers of the lungs and/or other parts of the body
  • Heart disease and/or stroke
  • Chronic bronchitis, emphysema
  • Periodontitis and tooth decay
  • Premature aging
  • Mouth sores or lesions that do not heal (leukoplakia)
 
 

How To Quit

  • Talk to us and your doctor about developing a strategy to quit.
  • Have us screen you for early signs of oral cancer and periodontal disease.
  • Anticipate triggers to smoking and prepare strategies on how to avoid them.
  • Reward yourself for reaching small goals — go out for dinner or buy yourself a gift.
  • Chew sugarless gum and drink water when cravings hit.
  • Incorporate exercise into your weekly routine and eat more fruits and vegetables.

Smokeless Tobacco

Also known as "snuff", "spit" or chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco is held in the mouth between the teeth and cheek. Users spit out a black, tarry substance that forms when the tobacco combines with saliva. It is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth making it more addictive than smoking cigarettes.

Users of chewing tobacco suffer permanent gum and bone loss, unlike users of smoking tobacco who usually recover the loss after quitting. Smokeless tobacco is associated with professional sports but has increased in popularity, particularly among teenagers.

Side Effects

  • Nicotine addiction - chewing an average amount for 30 minutes is like smoking four cigarettes
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste
  • Bad breath, stained teeth; recession of the gum line and changes in the colour and texture of mouth tissue
  • Accumulation of tartar (calculus) and plaque
  • Ulcers, upset stomach and increased bowel activity
  • Increased sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Delayed healing after dental work
  • Increased heart rate

Risks

  • Oral, pharyngeal (throat) and stomach cancer
  • Cancers of the lungs and/or other parts of the body
  • Heart disease; stroke; high blood pressure
  • Chronic bronchitis, emphysema
  • Periodontitis and tooth decay
  • Premature aging
  • Mouth sores or lesions that do not heal (tobacco-pouch keratosis)

How to Quit

It is easier to quit smoking than to stop using chewing tobacco, but new tools are available to make it easier to be nicotine-free.

  • Talk to your doctor about developing a strategy to quit
  • Have us screen you for early signs of oral cancer and periodontal disease
  • Anticipate triggers to using chewing tobacco and prepare strategies to avoid them.
  • Reward yourself for reaching small goals — go out for dinner or buy yourself a gift
  • Chew sugarless gum and drink water when cravings hit
  • Incorporate exercise into your weekly routine
  • To help prevent or reverse the risks, eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables

 

 

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