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By now, you are likely aware that smoking is bad for your health. It should not surprise anyone that smoking is bad for your oral health, too.
Unfortunately, at Sunrise Dental, we have seen some of the things that prove just how bad tobacco can be for your mouth. Today we are going to discuss ways that smoking is bad for your oral health.
Our dentists and our staff care about all our patients in and around Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh. It’s why we encourage all our patients to stop using any tobacco products as soon as they can.
If you are ready to quit, please know that you don’t have to do this alone.
We would like the opportunity to help you, too. You can start by calling the North Carolina Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Ill Effects Of Tobacco
There’s no nice way to put this. Tobacco products are bad for your teeth, your gums, and the soft tissues of your mouth. That pretty much covers every part of your mouth.
If you are a regular tobacco user, you may have already noticed some of the problems that come with tobacco use.
Your teeth turn yellow or dark more quickly as a direct result of exposing your teeth to nicotine, tar, and the other ingredients found in many tobacco products.
Tobacco also affects your breath and your ability to taste the food that you eat.
But these are minor issues compared to the others ways that tobacco damages your mouth. Here are a few things we want you to keep in mind.
▸ Tobacco Raises Your Risk Of Tooth Decay
One of the most common complications of tobacco use is dry mouth. On the other hand, dry mouth is great … for bacteria.
The same bacteria that cause tooth decay thrive in a dry environment. Bacteria use the sugar in the food that you eat to make plaque, a sticky film that attaches to your teeth. This keeps the bacteria close to your teeth so it can eat away at the enamel to cause cavities.
If the plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar, which you may not be able to remove on your own. Tartar effectively protects the bacteria so it can eat deeper and deeper into your tooth.
If you don’t remove it, it can lead to tooth infections that require root canal treatments to remove.
▸ Tobacco Increases Your Risk Of Gum Disease
Bacteria also cause periodontal disease, which is actually the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
Again, dry mouth makes it easier for the bacteria to survive, which increases your chances of developing gum disease. Treatment your periodontal problems can become more difficult when you are a tobacco user as well.
Tobacco problems contain several chemicals that will be absorbed more easily into your gums if that tissue is dry. This affects the general condition of your gums, which makes it both harder to remove gum disease and more likely that your infection will return.
For your sake, we would prefer that you avoid these consequences.
▸ Tobacco Users Are More Likely To Develop Oral Cancer
Tobacco has proven links to all kinds of cancer. It really should not surprise anyone that oral cancer is a possible repercussion of using tobacco.
Tobacco users are more likely than the general population to develop oral cancer. It does not matter if you are a smoker or a smokeless tobacco user.
Again, we come back to the way the chemicals in tobacco products are absorbed into the soft tissues of your mouth.
Thousands of chemicals are included in tobacco products. Many of them are known to cause cancer. Any time you smoke (cigarette, cigars, or pipes) and any time you use any smokeless tobacco product, you are directly exposing your lips, cheeks, and tongue to those chemicals.
Early detection can go a long way toward helping you survive oral cancer (which is why we do oral cancer screenings when you visit our office for cleanings and examinations). However, early detection may not matter if you continue using tobacco in spite of the danger.
It’s Not Easy, But It’s Worth It
Quitting tobacco is one of the hardest things you may ever do, but if you can, it will help your life in many ways.
Your oral health can improve. You can feel better. You can breathe easier, and as we mentioned earlier, you will be able to taste the food that you eat again.
Quitting smoking will improve the treatment we can provide at any Sunrise Dental location, too.
If you would like to make an appointment with one of our dentists just use our online form or call the location closest to you. Again, we have offices in Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh.