Kicking the Tobacco Habit is Good for your Mouth
While the current percentage of Americans who smoke cigarettes is the lowest it’s been in decades, those who continue the habit remain at risk for heart and lung disease. Additionally, while we know smoking is also bad for our oral health, most don’t understand just how bad it is…
More Than Just Stained Teeth
From its seemingly mild side effects (bad breath, tooth discoloration, buildup of plaque and tartar), to the more sinister (increased risk of oral cancer, loss of bone within the jaw, gum disease and any number of resulting complications) – tobacco is indeed an oral health risk. We have seen multiple examples of patients in our office that have quit over the years. The result has been incredible! It has led to a vast reduction in gum disease, which has helped patients save money and time on their dental care as well as reduced discomfort and embarrassment.
Tobacco can cause serious health issues by breaking down the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. Because of this breakdown, the use of tobacco makes smokers much more susceptible to infection and diseases. In fact, 90% of people who have cancer of the mouth, throat, or gums admit to using tobacco in some form.
Cigarettes, cigars and pipes aren’t the only culprits; smokeless tobacco can be just as damaging to oral health, if not worse. In fact, there are twenty-eight chemicals found in chewing tobacco alone that are proven to increase the risk of cancer in the mouth, throat, and esophagus. (Brown, K, Perez, E. University of Rochester Medical Center. Primer: Smokeless Tobacco. Retrieved From https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=1&contentid=2947 ) Chewing tobacco and snuff contain higher levels of nicotine than those found in cigarettes and other tobacco products. This can cause exposed roots and ultimately makes teeth more susceptible to decay in these softer areas of teeth.
Help is Just Next Door
The only way to help eliminate these risks is to never start using tobacco products. However, if you are using tobacco, you can greatly reduce the risk by quitting. In fact, simply reducing tobacco use is proven to help lower your risks. If you feel that it is time to reduce your risk of cancer, gum disease, infection and other oral complications, your dentist or doctor can help you create a plan to help you quit using tobacco. The plan may include prescribing certain medicines or programs to help you kick the habit.
New York State offers excellent sources for help. These include the NYS Quitter’s Hotline (1-866-NY-QUITS) and www.NYSmokeFree.com.
I have seen the grip of nicotine addiction first hand. Someone close to me has smoked for decades, through year after year of bronchitis, cancer scares, and the high probability of diseases like emphysema, yet he/she has not been able to fend off that “need”. There is help.
Remember, it is never too late to quit. If you’re interested in getting help to quit, let us know the next time you’re in for an appointment.
CrossKeys Dental is located at 110 CrossKeys Office Park in Fairport. Dr. DuPre՛ and Dr. Badali provide comprehensive family dentistry and are always welcoming new patients. Visit us at www.CrossKeysDentalFairport.com for more information.
© 2018 CrossKeys Dental in Fairport, NY by Vince Badali, DDS. Source: Patient Connect 365