Oral & Vision Health Blog

What Are the Effects of Tobacco on My Oral Health?

We’ve all been subject to the “No smoking” ads and literature growing up. At school, sometimes work, parents and elders – at some point in our lives we’ve heard that smoking is bad for you. There’s enough research to show us that smoking could easily cause lung cancer. But what are the effects of tobacco and smoking over the body as a whole? Of course, one must consider the lips and mouth when studying the effect that smoking has on the body. After all, that cigarette and tobacco chew gets its start right in your mouth and on your lips!

Oral Cancer Risks

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 133 billion dollars was spent in the United States from 2000-2012 to treat tobacco related health care issues. However, millions of Americans still continue to smoke and use tobacco products. Oral cancer can occur in virtually any area of the mouth. This includes the inner cheeks, tongue, lips and throat. Depending on the severity of the disease, oral cancer can have many terrible side effects. Some of these are tooth decay, bleeding, infections of the mouth, thyroid problems, problems with chewing and swallowing food, and more. The longer the cancer is left untreated, the worse it will get.

Chemicals in Tobacco

The risks of tobacco don’t just end there! You can imagine the damage it can do your teeth and gums if you really stop and think about it. Tobacco is known to release more than 7,000 chemicals, according to the American Lung Association. Think about that! All of these chemicals, such as formaldehyde, tar, lead, carbon monoxide- are passing by your lips, into your mouth and body. It’s amazing that there are still millions of people willingly choosing to jeopardize their health with this intensely damaging habit.

Teeth and Gum Risks

Everyone can usually spot the smoker in the crowd when they smile. Their yellowish teeth usually give them away quickly, if their bad breath doesn’t do the trick first. Unfortunately, that is not all that occurs to your teeth when you smoke or use tobacco. Smoking can cause teeth to become brittle and loose. Tobacco affects how the tooth attaches to the bone and soft tissue. In some cases, tooth loss can occur when the tooth gets too weak to hold onto the root and bone. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that ultimately destroys the bone and soft tissues that are anchoring your teeth to stay in place. Severe gum disease is an awful predicament to find yourself in because of repeated tobacco use.

If you know someone who smokes tobacco, try your best to educate them. If you yourself are a user, make an effort to cut these harmful chemicals out of your life. Taking a small step now towards ending tobacco use could help you lead a longer, healthier life.

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