It is well known that by smoking tobacco you are sowing the seeds of several diseases into your body which evolves with time and devastates yours all over health. Smoking tobacco paves the road for several cardiovascular diseases and lung diseases and eventually throws you into the jaws of death. Well, there are many people around the world who are keeping themselves away from the habit of smoking to lead a healthier and salubrious life, while there are some who are sticking back to their habit of smoking and in turn, this devastates their health. Smoking also slams down your health in many different ways, which include staining of teeth and dental restorations, reduction in the ability to smell and taste things, and the development of oral diseases such as smoker’s palate, smoker’s melanosis, coated tongue, and, possibly of oral candidosis and dental caries, periodontal disease, implant failure, oral pre-cancer, and cancers.
For many decades there is a tight-knitted connection between death and smoking, and this is not something new. There are several diseases, of the lungs and heart that lead to many diseases and it also leads to the destruction of oral health too. It is widely known that smoking tobacco, has harmful effects from stains on your teeth and tongue to oral cancer. Well, it is not something unreasonable that dentists should play an important role in advising people on the importance of quitting smoking tobacco for preventing the harmful effects of smoking that is caused on human tissues in general and oral tissues in particular.
Smoking tobacco can irritate your gum tissues, which results in causing them to recede or pull away from your teeth. Once the gum tissues end up receding, your teeth roots get exposed, which creates an increased risk of tooth decay. Not just that when your teeth’s roots get exposed they become more sensitive to hot and cold or other irritants, which makes eating and drinking uncomfortable and also irks you to eat anything. Well, chewing tobacco also contains higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes, which makes it harder to quit than cigarettes.
Smoking tobacco is harmful to your health, as it results in several diseases. Well, there are added sugars that enhance the flavor of smokeless tobacco, which can lead to increasing the risks of tooth decay. Studies have also proved that chewing tobacco users were four times more likely than nonusers to develop tooth decay. This article discusses the effects of tobacco and how it affects our oral health and what things you should adopt in your daily life in order to save yourself from the clutches of death.
Well, you must know how smoking can lead to gum diseases. Gum disease is also known as periodontitis, it is a serious gum infection that can damage the soft tissue and, with no treatment it can also dwindle the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis can cause the teeth to loosen or lead to tooth loss and tooth decay. It is also seen that smoking also interferes with the normal functioning of your gum tissues. Tobacco not only has a harmful effect on your gums, but it also has a devastating effect on your teeth too, it results in staining and yellowing your teeth.
Do you know that there is smokeless tobacco in the market? Just like regular tobacco smokeless tobacco is harmful to your health. Just like cigars and cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products like snuff and chewing tobacco consists of at least 28 chemicals that have been shown to increase the risks of oral cancer and cancer in the throat and the esophagus. This smokeless tobacco can also irritate your gum tissues, causing them to recede or pull away from your teeth.
Why does tobacco cause oral diseases?
Tobacco use is known as a major risk factor for oral and many other cancers. All tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, and snuff, contain the following:
- Poisonous substances (toxins)
- Cancer-causing agents (carcinogens)
- Nicotine, an addictive substance.
What are the dental problems that are caused due to smoking?
Smoking causes several dental problems such as:
- Bad breath
- Discoloration and stain of Tooth
- Inflammation of the salivary gland openings on the roof of the mouth
- Increased build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth and gum line.
- Increased loss of bone within the jaw
- Increased risk of leukoplakia, white patches inside the mouth
- Increased risk of developing gum disease, which leads to tooth loss.
- Red or swollen gums.
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
- Delayed in the healing process following a tooth extraction, periodontal treatment, or oral surgery
- Lower success rate of dental implant procedures
- Increased risk of developing oral cancer or mouth cancer.
How can tooth and gum diseases be kept at bay?
You can keep gum diseases away with good dental habits.
- By brushing your teeth twice a day.
- Flossing often removes plaque and food particles stuck in between your teeth.
- Seeing a dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings at least twice a year.
- Don’t smoke.
Life Threatening effects of tobacco on your oral health.
No matter what kind of tobacco you smoke you are eventually opening the doors to deadly diseases to enter your body and this finishes you with the passage of time. Products like chewing tobacco and other smokeless tobacco consist of about 30 cancer-causing chemicals. Health problems linked to smokeless tobacco include:
#1. Severe Addition:
Using these products leads to severe addiction, as they contain nicotine in it which is severely harmful to health and also causes several diseases.
#2. Tobacco is Cancerous:
Any product made up of tobacco is severely cancerous to health, and it can cause cancers in different body parts such as the mouth, throat, esophagus, cheek, gum, lip, and tongue.
Tobacco products consist of sugar, and chewing them can also lead to cavities which even causes the enamel to erode. The presence of sugar and irritants in tobacco also causes gum infections, by the time which can also lead to tooth loss.
#4. Heart disease:
Smoking or chewing tobacco also leads to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Excessive usage of tobacco can lead to heart disease and stroke.
#5. Displaces the structure of teeth:
Smoking tobacco can lead to staining your teeth, and it can also result in the loss of smell and taste while smoking cigarette tar can stain your teeth, discolor your tongue, and it also leads to halitosis.
#6. Weakened Immune System:
Smoking causes the immune systems to weaken and become compromised, which leads to weakened defenses against oral diseases and longer recovery from dental surgical procedures.
#7.Tooth Decay and Loss:
Smoking causes bacteria, plaque, and tartar build-up which leads to cavities, decaying, and tooth loss.
#8. Mouth Sores and Ulcers:
These are the common oral health issues that are much more prevalent among the ones who smoke.
#9. Gum Recession:
Smokers who develop gum disease experience receding gums that exposes the margins of their crowns. This may make oral hygiene more difficult and change the aesthetic appearance of their crowns.
#10. Oral Cancer:
Exposure to harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco causes mutations in the healthy cells of your mouth and throat, increasing your risk of developing oral cancer. Thus this becomes challenging and the most serious thing to treat.
#11. Precancerous mouth lesions:
Chewing tobacco can cause lesions where the chew is placed. These can become cancerous.
Difference between smokers and non-smokers:
- Compared with non-smokers, regular smokers are 4 to 10 times more likely to die from oral cancer, oesophageal cancer, and laryngeal cancers.
- Regular smokers may spend an hour or more smoking 1 large cigar that can contain the same amount of nicotine as a full pack of cigarettes. And even unlit cigars, when held in the mouth for an extended period of time, promote nicotine absorption.
- People who smoke regularly have a higher risk of several gum problems, tooth loss, complications after tooth removal and surgery in the mouth, and developing mouth cancer. They are more likely to get infections, that don’t heal as well.
The Dangers of Second-Hand Smoke:
Second-hand smoke or passive smoking has the same harmful chemicals that the smokers inhale. It can also cause health problems for people who don’t smoke. Children and babies are especially at risk and it causes more danger to them. There’s no “safe” level of exposure to second-hand smoke.
Be a Quitter:
Quitting smoking will be a beneficial thing for your health, and it is also proven scientifically that by quitting smoking you are climbing the steps toward a healthier life. Quitting is good for your mouth, and your health. It lowers your risk of a heart attack, stroke, or cancer, including oral cancer. The benefits of quitting start within a few minutes, and it lasts for a lifetime. Within a few minutes after your last cigarette, your body starts to heal, 20 minutes after quitting your heart rate and blood pressure tends to drop, 12 hours after quitting the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal and gradually stabilizes, two weeks to three months after quitting your blood flow improves and your lungs start to work better, one year after quitting, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker’s. After five years of quitting your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half, your cervical cancer risk is the same as a non-smoker’s and your stroke risk can be the same as a non-smoker’s after two to five years.
Quitting smoking is quite a tough task and it takes hard work, commitment, accountability, and willpower to leave behind this habit. Below enumerated are some of the habits that you should follow if you want to quit smoking.
- Get Ready: Set your date to quit the smoking.
- Lean on Your Support System: Utilise your friends, family, and health professionals to help you along.
- Get plenty of rest and eat a well-balanced diet.
- Try joining a stop-smoking program or other support groups.
- Pick a stress-free time to quit.
- Talk with your healthcare provider doctor about medicines that may help you quit.
- Create Distractions: When urges to smoke arise, shift your focus to something else by exercising, following any hobby, etc.
- Medicate As Necessary: Speak with your doctor about the benefits of using prescription or over-the-counter medications.
- Prepare For Setbacks: Recognise they happen, own them, work to overcome slip-ups, and keep going.
- It’s not a matter of how long it takes for smoking to affect your teeth and oral health, but just a matter of when.
How are gum diseases treated?
Regular cleanings at your dentist’s office and maintaining proper daily oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing can help treat early gum disease. If you smoke or use spit tobacco, quitting will help your gums heal after treatment.
More severe gum disease may require:
- Deep cleaning below the gum line.
- Prescription mouth rinse or medicine.
- Surgery to remove tartar deep under the gums.
- Surgery to help heal bone or gums lost to periodontitis. Your dentist may use small bits of bone to fill places where the bone has been lost. Or your dentist may move tissue from one place in your mouth to cover exposed tooth roots.