This just in from science.. Using tobacco products can cause oral health problems. Just in case you were not aware, cigarettes and chewing tobacco can affect your teeth and gums in a serious way, and here’s more data on the subject.
Tobacco products are known to lead to gum disease because they affect the attachment of bone and soft tissue in your teeth. As a result, smokers are more susceptible to infections and periodontal disease. Studies have also shown that nicotine can inhibit blood flow to the gums, making these conditions more difficult to heal. Other potential problems that can arise as a result of smoking cigarettes include:
- Tooth discoloration
- Bad breath
- Inflammation of the salivary glands
- Increased plaque buildup
- Increased loss of bone within the jaw
- Increased risk of leukoplakia, a condition in which white patches develop inside the mouth
- As a result of gum disease, tooth loss can occur.
- Delayed healing after oral surgery or tooth extraction.
- Lower success rate of dental implant procedures
- Increased risk of developing oral cancer
Some users opt for the smokeless version of tobacco use. Smokeless tobacco comes in different forms and is called by different names, including “spit tobacco,” “chewing tobacco,” “dip” or “snuff.” A new form, called snus, is gaining popularity in the US as well. It’s basically tobacco in a teabag-like pouch. In case you were thinking that smokeless tobacco is a safer alternative, you should know that smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals and is known to cause cancers of the mouth, lip, tongue and pancreas. It can also cause cancer of the voice box, esophagus, colon and bladder, due to the swallowing of toxins in the tobacco juice.
The easiest way to combat the dangers associated with using tobacco products is to quit. Talk to your dentist or find other resources to help you kick the habit and protect your smile.