It is no secret that smoking is a huge drag on your health, but many people tend to ignore the dental problems that are also associated with smoking. All forms of tobacco cause serious, many times irreversible, damage to the teeth, gums, cheeks, and entire mouth.
All forms of tobacco are dangerous – this includes cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and hookah water pipes. Tobacco is a drug that is not meant for the body’s consumption. Tobacco usage greatly increases the risk for oral cancer, a significant killer even in present times due to the fact that it is often not caught early enough for intervention. Heavy tobacco users are well-known for neglecting to make and keep regular dental appointments, and it is typically the dentist who identifies signs of oral cancer during an oral exam.
Tobacco also increases the risk of gum disease because of the irritation that it causes to the gum tissues. When the gums are irritated, they easily allow bacteria to enter into the gum tissue where infection sets in. tobacco usage also leads to an overabundance of oral bacteria, which speeds up the progression of gum disease and causes greater damage in a shorter amount of time. This prevents intervention from being as effective unless the gum damage is caught very early. With gum disease also comes gum recession, where the roots of the tooth are exposed. If the roots of the tooth are infected by bacteria, there is a significant increase in the risk of tooth decay and tooth loss.
Smoking tobacco has long been known to slow down the immune system and the body’s own healing ability. When an infection sets in inside the mouth, continued use of tobacco prevents the healing of the mouth from occurring at a normal rate.
Tobacco usage also causes very bad breath, stains and discolorations on the teeth, and a buildup of tartar. These unpleasant side effects of tobacco usage are seen as minor in comparison to the oral health, general health, and tooth loss effects that can also occur.
Dr. Wayne G. Suway understands the links between tobacco and oral health. If you would like to stop smoking once and for all, contact Dr. Suway for tips on how to successfully kick the habit. Your health depends on it.