The World Health Organization (WHO) has dedicated May 31, annually, to be World No Tobacco Day as part of an effort to increase awareness of the adverse effects of tobacco.
Tobacco is a green, leafy plant that grows in warm climates.
The plant is picked, dried, and can then be smoked, chewed (chewing tobacco or “smokeless” tobacco), or inhaled through the nose (snuff).
But none of this is safe, and at Precision Dental we want you to be aware that not only does tobacco use harm your general health, but it also has particularly adverse effects on your oral health.
This is because cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including many known to cause cancer, and 400 other toxins to boot.
The list of ingredients sounds horrible: tar; nicotine; carbon monoxide; formaldehyde; ammonia; hydrogen cyanide; arsenic, and; even DDT. So why do we consume it?
Because one of the chemicals in it is nicotine, a highly addictive stimulant.
On World No Tobacco Day, both the World Health Organization and Precision Dental strongly recommend you begin taking steps to lower, and then stop your tobacco product consumption.
5 Ways Tobacco Attacks Your Dental Health
#1 Gum Disease
Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for gum disease, with smokers being up to six times more likely than nonsmokers to suffer from it.
Tobacco reduces the flow of saliva and the blood flow to your gum tissue. Saliva cleans your teeth, and blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients while removing waste products.
More plaque and calculus accumulate on your teeth while making your gums pull away from the teeth, and less able to fight gum disease.
#2 Oral Cancer
Tobacco use is a significant cause of oral cancer because it contains cancer-causing chemicals, which, when chewed or smoked, expose your oral tissues to them.
Changes occur on the cellular level that can lead to oral cancer.
The risk of oral cancer begins to decrease the moment you stop using tobacco products, and as time goes by, the drop is dramatic.
Eventually, over 10 to 20 years, your risk gradually reduces to that of a lifelong nonsmoker.
#3 Delayed Healing
Smoking retards the healing process of your mouth due to reduced blood flow to oral tissues.
Blood flow brings nutrients and oxygen to your tissues while taking away waste products.
Oxygen plays a vital role in healing, and nutrients and waste disposal lead to healthier gums in general, which are more resistant to attack.
The slowing of these processes means gums can’t heal efficiently.
Delayed oral healing can complicate various procedures, including tooth extractions, dental implants, and treatment of gum disease.
#4 Stained Teeth
We all know that the tar and nicotine in cigarettes can stain fingers and yellow walls. This is why it should come as little surprise they can have the same effect on your teeth.
The outer layer of your teeth can discolour and take on yellow or brown tints. Restorations, like veneers and crowns, can also stain with tobacco use.
#5 Bad Breath
Bad breath is also associated with tobacco use due to tobacco’s lingering smell and the bacterial build-up inside your mouth that is more likely if you smoke.
While treatment can temporarily deal with this, if you continue to use tobacco products, it will always return.
How About Non-Inhaled Tobacco Products?
Bad news on this front, as non-inhaled products such as pipes and cigars, and smokeless products like chew/snuff are just as bad.
In fact, chewable tobacco products can be worse, as they spend a longer time in contact with teeth and often contain abrasive grit that erodes teeth.
Benefits to Quitting for Your Oral Health
You can significantly decrease your risk of oral problems if you quit using tobacco products. Quitting can solve many problems; it just takes a little time.
Eleven years after quitting tobacco, a former smoker and a nonsmoker have approximately the same risk for gum disease.
One study demonstrated that 97.5 per cent of those who quit using tobacco saw pre-cancerous leukoplakia resolve within about six weeks.
You, too, can reduce your risk for oral cancer by discontinuing the use of tobacco products immediately.
Even cutting back on your tobacco use can decrease your risk for gum disease and other oral health problems.
Use World No Tobacco Day as motivation to quit smoking or using tobacco products in 2019! Your mouth will appreciate it.
To take the first step towards a healthier mouth after quitting tobacco, schedule a cleaning with Precision Dental! Call us at (07) 3852 1160.
Dental Health at Precision Dental!
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We are located in the Fortitude Valley, serving patients from Newstead, New Farm, Bowen Hills, and from all Brisbane metro areas.
Call us on (07) 3852 1160 or visit us at S13, HQ South Tower, 520 Wickham St in Fortitude Valley.