Tobacco and Oral Health
It’s hard to believe that there was a time when we didn’t know the troubling health effects of tobacco use. In fact, we continue to learn more about the problems smoking and other tobacco use causes in the human body every day.
One area of the body heavily affected by tobacco use is the mouth. This isn’t surprising since the mouth is the channel by which tobacco is introduced to the body, whether you smoke cigarettes or cigars or you use smokeless tobacco.
If you use tobacco, it’s important to let your Jonesboro, AR dentist, either Dr. Lauren Harmon or Dr. Brett Burris, know. We’ll keep a close eye out to watch for signs of the oral conditions associated with smoking, including:
1. Periodontal disease
Did you know that half of all adults who smoke have periodontal disease? Additionally, while periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in American adults, those who smoke are twice as likely to lose their teeth as those who don’t. Additionally, smoking slows the ability to heal and makes gum disease treatment less effective.
Tobacco use makes it harder for your body to fight infection. Periodontal disease is one type of chronic infection, but it’s not the only type. You are also more likely to experience ulcers in the soft tissues of your mouth and abscesses. In fact, people who smoke are twice as likely to require a root canal as those who do not.
3. Oral cancer
Oral cancer is a serious condition – often because it isn’t diagnosed until it is well-developed. As with any type of cancer, early diagnosis and treatment is linked to much better outcomes. Both smoking and smokeless tobacco are associated with the development of oral cancer, but smokeless tobacco users are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheeks, lips, and gums than non-users. That’s a pretty stark statistic.
We recognize that quitting tobacco can be challenging, but it’s by no means impossible. If you need help, please let us know.