Quitting Tobacco Habits to Protect Oral Health

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All tobacco products including the non-smoking ones run the risk of tooth loss and bone loss in the jawbone. Pipe and cigar smokers also have the same risk of tooth loss as cigarette smokers. Use of tobacco products can also lead to oral and pharyngeal (throat) cancers, bad breath, stained teeth, and increased risk of periodontal disease.

Non-Smoking Tobacco Use and Risks

The risk of dental health problems don’t go away just because you switched to smokeless tobacco.

There are many factors that contribute to dental health that are associated with tobacco use.

  • Like cigars and cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products like snuff and chewing tobacco contain chemicals that can increase the risk of cancer in the throat and esophagus. Chewing tobacco makes you consume more nicotine than cigarettes, which makes it harder to give up.
  • Smokeless tobacco holds a common myth that it is somehow safer than the usual smoking products. However, it can irritate your gum tissue and make it recede or pull away from your teeth. If the gum tissue recedes, your teeth roots get exposed, and can lead to tooth decay. Exposed roots are also more sensitive to hot and cold or other irritants and will make eating difficult.
  • Smokeless tobacco also typically contains sand and grit, which can wear down your teeth. Chewing tobacco can often use sugar and chemicals that contribute to severe tooth loss.

It doesn’t how long you have used tobacco products, quitting now can greatly reduce serious risks to your health. Eleven years after quitting, the chances of periodontal (gum) disease for a smoker who quit was not very different from people who never smoked.

Say No to Tobacco

It is difficult to quit an addiction in a day. But even a lower daily tobacco intake can help reduce the risks of dental problems. One study found that smokers who reduced their smoking habit to less than half a pack a day had only three times the risk of gum disease than nonsmokers.

This is a lot lower than the six times higher risk seen in those who smoked more than a pack and a half per day. Another study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that the mouth lesion leukoplakia completely resolved within 6 weeks of quitting in 97.5% of patients who used smokeless tobacco products.

Some surveys from the American Cancer Society show why it is better to sober up and quit smoking altogether. About 90% of people with cancer of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat use tobacco. The risk rises with the amount smoked or chewed and the duration of the habit.

Smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to have cancer. About 37% of patients who persist in smoking after apparent cure of their cancer will develop second cancers of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat, compared with only 6% of those who stop smoking.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America provides this informational infographic on the dangerous link between smoking and cancer.

link between smoking and cancerThere is no shortage of resources if you want to quit smoking. The website, Smokefree.gov can help you find the best methods to give up your smoking habits.


Image Source: www.cancercenter.com

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