Tobacco use in smoked and smokeless forms has countless negative impacts on oral health. Smoking and smokeless tobacco have been associated with periodontal disease, caries, tooth loss, oral soft tissue changes, dental implant failure, peri-implant disease, and oropharyngeal cancer. Studies have shown that smokers are three to six times more likely to suffer from advanced gum disease than non-smokers. Tobacco use also causes oral infection, cracked or chipped teeth.
Tobacco is a Threat to Oral Health
Tobacco’s greatest threat to your oral health may be its association with oral cancer. The American Cancer Society reports the followings:
· About 90% of people with oral cancer and some types of throat cancer have used tobacco.
· Smokers are 6 times more likely than non-smokers to develop oral cancer.
· About 37% of people who continue to smoke after cancer treatment will develop second cancers of the mouth, throat or larynx.
· Smokeless tobacco has been linked to cancers of the cheeks, gums and inner surface of the lips. Smokeless tobacco increases the risk of these cancers by nearly 50 times.
The negative impacts of (smoking/smokeless) tobacco on Oral Health
· Smoking and Tooth Loss-studies from the American College of Prosthodontists have reported correlations with smoking and tooth loss. Smokers have greater risk of tooth loss.
· Smoking and Periodontal Disease-“studies have found that tobacco use may be one of the biggest risk factors in the development of periodontal disease,” says David Albert, D.D.S., an associate professor at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine.
-smokers have more calculus (tartar) than nonsmokers. This may be the result of decreased flow of saliva.
-smokers have more severe bone loss and deep pockets between their teeth and gums than nonsmokers.
-smokers are 3 to 6 times more likely to have gum destruction than nonsmokers.
· Smoking and Oral soft tissue changes
-leukoplakia is a white or gray patch that develops on the tongue, the inside of the cheek, or on the floor of the mouth.
-chronic smoking may be a cause of leukoplakia
-leukoplakia is potentially premalignant. Patient should be referred for appropriate medical care for possible oral cancer.
· Smoking, Dental Implant Failure and Peri-implant Disease (inflammation of soft tissues surrounding the implant)
-smoking compromises healing time after oral surgery.
-smoking increases the risk of implant failure and post-operative infections. Tobacco reduces the body’s ability to fight oral infection.
-studies from the American College of Prosthodontists reported correlations with smoking and peri-implant disease (peri-implantitis).
· Smokeless tobacco causes gum recession and cavities
-tobacco irritates gum tissue and causes gum recessions.
-gum tissue recedes and root of the teeth is exposed and increases the risk for tooth decay.
-sugar is added to smokeless tobacco and enhances its flavor; sugar increases the risk for tooth decay.
· Smoking and Oral Cancer is usually found on the floor of the mouth, the ventrolateral surface of the tongue and the soft palate. Heavy tobacco users have a 5 to 25 times greater risk of oral cavity and oropharynx cancer.
Tobacco use increases the risk of oral cancer
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), these are some of the signs & symptoms of oral cancer:
· A sore or tenderness in the mouth that does not heal or get better
· Pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth or on the lips
· A lump or leathery patch inside your mouth, or color changes in your oral tissues (gray, red, or white patches)
· Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking
· Changes in the way your teeth fit together
Tobacco use increases the risk of Periodontal Disease
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of Periodontal Disease:
· Red, swollen, or tender gums
· Gums that easily bleed
· Gums pulling away from the teeth
· Teeth are loose or separating
· Chronic bad breath
Smoking causes Dental and Oral Health problems
· Bad breath
· Tooth discoloration/Stained teeth
· Inflammation of the salivary gland openings on the roof of the mouth
· Increases buildup of plaque and calculus (tartar) on the teeth
· Increases loss of bone with the jaw
· Increases risk of leukoplakia, white patches inside the mouth
· Increases risk of developing gum disease and leading to tooth loss
· Delays healing process following tooth extraction, periodontal treatment, and oral surgery
· Lowers success rate of dental implant procedures
· Increases risk of developing oral cancer
Here are some quitting tips from the American Cancer Society (ACS):
· Set a quit date. Make a quitting plan.
· Get support and turn to family, friends and coworkers for support.
· Join a support group. Call ACS AT 800-227-2345 for a list of support groups.
· Join a stop-smoking program.
Smoking and smokeless tobacco elevate risks for oral cancer, dental and oral health problems. If you notice any of the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease and oral cancer, schedule a dental consultation with Dr. Anna Lee for a thorough evaluation. Contact us at 626-335-5114 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org