Tobacco use affects oral health

Besides affecting your overall health, tobacco use and smoking can cause a number of oral health issues, ranging from oral cancer to discoloured teeth.

Smoking and tobacco use can lead to more serious oral health difficulties as well, including gum diseases and oral cancer. The most serious issue is mouth cancer. The cancer society estimates that 90 per cent of people with oral cancer, affecting lips, tongue, throat, and mouth have used tobacco in some form. So, the risk of oral cancer is six times higher among smokers as related to non-smokers. The risk of oral cancer depends on how long you’ve been using tobacco — the longer you use it, the greater you are at risk.

Smoking cigarettes don’t cause dental decay, but it does cause periodontal, or gum, disease. Periodontal disease is a part of the bone loss and starts off with the inflammation of the gums.

People often think that different types of tobacco are safer than others. But, it’s been understood that tobacco in any form has is risky. Regular exposure to tobacco in any form can compromise your health. People who use smokeless tobacco are also at higher risk of tooth decay and cavities because some varieties of chewing tobacco contain sugar for a sweeter taste, and sugar is a major cause of tooth decay.

Protecting your oral health:

  • Quit smoking: Quit smoking and your risk of oral health problems decreases significantly. And if you remain a non-smoker for a longer period of time, your risks also lowers down. A decade after you’ve quit, your risk for periodontal disease is similar to that of a person who never smoked at all.
  • Regular dental checkups: Early detection to most of the cancers improve your outcome. It is important to have regular checkups by a dentist to catch oral cancer early. It’s better to start your treatment sooner for better results.
  • Brush properly: The heat and carcinogens found in cigarettes and tobacco are also damaging to your mouth and gums. So people who use tobacco need to be extra careful about brushing and flossing correctly and doing so as often as recommended.

Talk to your dentist or general doctor about what can help you to quit your smoking and other tobacco habits today.