Quit Smoking – For Your Oral Health, PART 3

The Effects of Smoking on Your Oral Health, PART 3

This four-part article series explores the connection between tobacco-use and the health, aesthetics and longevity of the hard and soft tissues in the mouth.

In the previous two article posts, we explored the many terrible effects of tobacco-use upon one’s oral health, from bad breath and tooth discoloration to gum disease and oral cancer. In this, the third installment of our four-part article series, we shall move on to discuss the use of different kinds of tobacco products as well as the very many health benefits one can reap from kicking the habit.

Seeing Tobacco-use for what it really is

People who are addicted to substances such as tobacco will always try to find ways to rationalize their habitual use. And this is evident in certain common misconceptions surrounding the use of tobacco products and the different forms of consumption. First of all, it needs to be said that there is no ‘safer’ form of consumption. Whether you smoke or chew tobacco, or whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars or pipes, the effects are the same and they are potentially fatal. Tobacco-users who want to enjoy a long and healthy life need to see their habit for what it really is; a death sentence.

Much research has been conducted on the difference between the forms of tobacco-use (many of which have been published in the Journal of the American Dental Association). All of them indicate strongly that tobacco-use, whether it is cigarette, pipe or cigar-smoking lead to a whole suit of terrible oral afflictions, including bad breath, gum disease, oral cancer and tooth loss.

Then there are the smokeless tobacco products that many claim to be the ‘safer’ option for the nicotine-addicted. Unfortunately, these products pose just as much of a risk to your oral and general health. Snuff and chewing tobacco contain at least 30 different harmful chemicals that are known to increase a patient’s risk of developing throat and oral cancer. In fact, chewing tobacco dispenses more nicotine into the bloodstream than smoking, making it that much harder for people to quit. Smokeless tobacco-use also irritates the gums, leading to chronic inflammation and infection, gum disease, tooth loss and the loss of bone volume in the jaw.

The Benefits of Kicking the Habit

Many of the patients Boca Raton dentists see have been smoking for years and even decades. And there is this sentiment that it’s too late for them to quit; that they may as well just deal with the consequences of their lifelong addiction rather than confront it. The misconception that it’s too late is a terrible one. Kicking the habit today, whether you have been smoking for three years or for 30 can greatly improve your standard of oral and general health. Check out these statistics:

  • Smokers that reduce their daily intake to less than half a pack have a three times higher risk of gum disease than non-smokers. This is versus those that consume more than a pack and a half every day whose risk is six times higher than non-smokers.
  • 97.5% of patients who used smokeless tobacco products found their oral lesions (leukoplakia) to disappear completely within six weeks of quitting.
  • Smokers are six times more likely to develop cancer of the tongue, mouth, throat and lips than non-smokers.
  • 94% of recovered oral cancer patients who stop smoking remain ‘cured’.

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned for the final installment of this four-part article series on smoking and you oral health.