Many people associate smoking with lung or throat damage, and while they are not wrong, they seem to forget another key component–the mouth! Smoking affects your oral health, big time. And chewing tobacco? Even worse. Nobody wants to be told to put down their bad habits, but unfortunately, that’s just what smoking and chewing are–bad habits. If you are considering quitting, or even just want to know the facts, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the effects tobacco use has on your oral health:
Smokeless tobacco, otherwise known as dip, chewing tobacco, and snuff, contains at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals. It is known to cause cancers of the tongue, esophagus, pancreas, lip, and mouth. By chewing tobacco, you increase your risk of tooth decay, sensitivity, and erosion due to the grit placed in smokeless tobacco. As you chew tobacco, you will notice that your gum line will begin to recede, as you habitually park wads of tobacco in the same “choice” spots. Your gums will also become inflamed and irritated, and you may notice white or gray patches begin to take form. These are called leukoplakia, and they can lead to cancer. Smokeless tobacco also increases the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.
If you are a smoker, though you are not placing tobacco directly on your gums, you are still at risk. Smokers stain their teeth and dental fillings, and they very often have bad breath. Smoking reduces your ability to taste and smell, which can dull your overall sense of well-being and enjoyment in life. You may also develop certain unsavory conditions, such as “coated tongue,” which is a colored layer composed of food particles, bacteria, and debris in the mouth. “Smoker’s melanosis” is another one, which comes in the form of brown spots in the mouth, generally associated with cigarette and pipe smoking. What’s worse, as a smoker, you are drastically increasing your chances of oral pre-cancer and cancer, as a result of the irritants and cancer-causing compounds associated with cigarette smoke.
These are just some of the risks associated with tobacco use. Please use this bit of reading to help you going forward. We know you know tobacco is bad, but nobody truly understands how bad it is until they are told they have cancer. Fortunately, you do not have to be scared. If you quit today, you drastically improve your chances of having the bright, long, and healthy future you deserve.
Dental Associates of Basking Ridge is a compassionate, gentle, and professional state-of-the-art dental practice serving Basking Ridge, Morris & Somerset County. Our office is always ready to greet our patients with a smile, take the time to answer any questions, and provide the quality dental services our patients expect. Please contact us to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you!