We all know that using tobacco or nicotine is unhealthy for our general wellbeing but many people tend to overlook the effects of nicotine use on our oral health system. Using tobacco products affects the health of our teeth and gums along with greatly increasing the risk of developing oral cancer. Our family dentist offers help with smoking cessation along with oral cancer screenings during routine dental checkups. Following are a few ways using tobacco and nicotine products affect oral health.
Common nicotine products like cigarettes and chewing tobacco irritate gingival tissue. Irritated and inflamed gums are incredibly susceptible to infection. In fact, those who use tobacco have greatly increased odds of developing periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the leading contributor to adulthood tooth loss. When untreated, periodontal disease advances to a progressive and chronic condition that destroys gums and bone.
Tobacco use impairs the immune system, which in turn makes a person vulnerable to oral infections. It is not uncommon for patients who smoke or chew tobacco to develop infections like abscessed teeth and gum disease because the body cannot fight off infection as efficiently.
Cancer can form anywhere in the oral cavity but typically forms along soft oral tissue and the tongue. Using tobacco in any form greatly increases a person’s risk for developing this type of cancer. The smoke emitted from tobacco products is full of carcinogens that cause cells to develop malignancies. Chewing tobacco also contains carcinogens. Quitting smoking greatly reduces your risk for oral cancer. If you have a history of oral cancer in your family, use tobacco, or drink alcoholic beverages frequently, be sure to discuss this with our family dentist at your next checkup.
If it is time for a checkup or cleaning, call Fresh Leaf Dental at 714-838-8050 to reserve an appointment.