Smoking has a myriad of effects on the body. The mouth is no exception. In addition to staining the teeth, smoking can also increase one’s chances of developing a number of oral conditions.
Tobacco and Cancer
Cigarettes contain hundreds of toxic chemicals, including tobacco-specific nitrosamines. These chemicals are known to cause cancer in the mouth, tongue, gums, cheeks, throat, roof of your mouth, sinuses, lips, larynx, and the bottom of your tongue. Smoking also damages the salivary glands and decreases saliva production. This can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Cigarette smoking is the cause of at least 13 different types of cancers, including oral cancer.
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, men are two times more likely to get oral cancer than women. However, the number of females who are diagnosed with oral cancer is on the rise. One theory is the increase in the human papillomavirus (HPV) in the United States. This type of HPV is linked to cervical cancer in women and throat cancer in both men and women. The best way to protect yourself against oral cancer is to avoid any type of tobacco products. If you do smoke, the best thing you can do is quit smoking as soon as possible. Talk to your dentist about quitting strategies and products that help you quit. Mouthwashes that contain nicotine can also help with withdrawal symptoms that might be difficult to overcome.
Dentists are specially trained to detect signs in the mouth that may indicate the development of various health conditions, like oral cancer. At-home dental care is essential for having healthy teeth and gums and catching signs of potential issues early for the most successful outcomes. If you have questions about how to improve your at-home care routine, ask your dentist for advice.
Cigarette Smoking and Gum Disease
Smoking cigarettes can have a major impact on your oral health, as it can lead to serious gum disease. In fact, smokers are four times more likely than non-smokers to develop periodontitis.
Cigarette smoking can also increase your risk of developing oral cancer or cancer of the throat, lungs, mouth, vocal cords, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, stomach, bladder, cervix, or liver. Quitting smoking can reduce your risks of developing these conditions and improve your overall oral health significantly. This is also true of chewing tobacco, which is also addictive and causes many of the same risks.
Visit AC Dentistry at 7350 Cahaba Valley Rd. #106, Birmingham, AL 35242, or call (205) 533-6799 for the best dental care.