The Surgeon General issued a warning in the 1960’s regarding the health hazards of tobacco use. Lung cancer was the primary concern with heart disease right behind it. But research over the past half century has identified many more reasons why tobacco should not be used … primary among them is the impact smoking and chewing has on your oral health. No doubt your dentist has cautioned you about the dangers of tobacco use.
Dangers and Consequences
It is a well established fact that tobacco users are much more likely to experience problems with their oral health. Some of the more common maladies include:
Cavities: While smoking may not increase the likelihood of tooth decay, individuals who chew tobacco may have an increased incidence of cavities – this could be linked to the sweetening additives that are found in many smokeless tobacco products.
Dental Stain: Your teeth, tongue, and fingers become stained; and you are more likely to have bad breath.
Gum Disease: You need your teeth to chew and speak clearly; patients who have suffered the loss of one or more teeth due to periodontal disease may also experience diminished self confidence. Periodontal disease can result from neglect, poor diet choices, missed dental cleanings, and/or tobacco use. All of these things are within your control.
Oral Cancer: These two words should scare folks into quitting or never starting to smoke. Unfortunately, tobacco use is a very addictive, powerful, and risky behavior. Quitting isn’t easy; but your dentist has many aids available to help you kick the habit.
Is There A Safe Tobacco?
In a word … no. Pipe smokers, cigar smokers, cigarette smokers, and tobacco chewers … all are taking a chance on their oral and overall health. More research is needed to determine the hazards of electronic cigarettes, but initial findings have determined that they pose health hazards as well. E-cigs generally contain nicotine, flavorings, and depending on the brand you choose you can be exposed to several potentially harmful chemicals.
Quitting is hard; but the result from not quitting is much harder. Contact our team at Newton Dental Group for information and assistance on the resources available to give up tobacco.