Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) designates May 31st as “World No Tobacco Day.”
On World No Tobacco Day, WHO asks all tobacco users to commit to one day of abstinence.
They also explain the dangers of tobacco use and encourage those who use tobacco products to quit.
WHO also selects a focus or theme for each year. For 2019, WHO is asking countries around the world to focus on “tobacco and lung health”.
But even though tobacco products do cause lung cancer, it also creates a wide variety of oral health issues that Main Beach Dental wants you to know about.
We hope this knowledge may tip the balance for some of our patients, causing them to quit tobacco products.
Effects of Tobacco on Oral Health
Here are five things everyone should know about tobacco smoking:
- Tobacco kills up to fifty per cent of its users.
- Tobacco kills approximately 6 million people annually. Of these deaths, 5 million are the result of direct tobacco use, while more than 600,000 is the result of nonsmokers being exposed to secondhand smoke.
- There are more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke. Of this number, at least 250 are known to be harmful, and over 50 are known to be carcinogenic.
- Secondhand smoke kills. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. In fact, exposure to secondhand smoke affects people worse than smokers themselves.
Gum Disease. Smoking makes it difficult for your body to fight infections. But what this also means is that it doesn’t fight gum infections as efficiently.
Once your gums are damaged, the millions of puffs you’ve taken make it harder for your gums to heal.
Tobacco use in any form, be it cigarettes, pipes, chew, or electric cigarettes increase the likelihood of gum disease.
Tooth Loss. Tobacco use restricts blood flow to the gum tissues, limiting the flow of nutrients to the bone and periodontal support of the teeth.
Smoking causes plaque build-up on teeth, which eventually leads to tooth loss, and you will need a professional tooth removal.
Oral Cancer. Smokers are over five times more at risk of oral cancer than those who do not. The carcinogenic chemicals used in tobacco cause genetic changes in cells of the mouth, which lead to oral cancer.
Bad Breath. Tobacco users experience bad breath and more significant oral health issues.
Cigarettes don’t just leave your mouth smelling like an ashtray, but they also damage your gum tissue. These strong odours also don’t go away with regular brushing and flossing.
Slows down the healing process after dental surgery or trauma. Wound recovery lies in oxygen, which allows cell repair and redevelopment.
Oxygen is the foundation for rebuilding skin tissues. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen to the affected area.
The chemicals present in tobacco products narrow down the blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen to other parts of the body.
Leukoplakia. In leukoplakia, white patches (lesions) take hold of the gums or inner cheeks.
These patches are potentially dangerous and they are often considered “premalignant.”
The areas with leukoplakia are more likely to develop oral cancer in the future because they have been damaged severely.
The Benefits of Quitting Smoking
Quitting tobacco use has shown immediate health benefits and dramatically reduces the risk of tobacco-related diseases, whatever the person’s age.
- Gum disease. Researchers discovered that smokers with gum disease who quit smoking experienced a significant improvement in their gum disease within one year of quitting. The study also showed that quitting smoking, together with routine gum treatment, resulted in healthier gums. And of course, improved gum health decreases the likelihood of tooth loss.
- Lost ability to taste and smell. Luckily, taste-numbing effects begin to fade only 48 hours after your last cigarette.
- Oral cancer risks drop. The risk of developing oral cancer decreases significantly the moment you stop using tobacco products, and over 10 to 20 years, your risk gradually reduces to that of a lifelong nonsmoker.
What To Do If You Currently Use Tobacco Products
If you currently use any tobacco products, it is in your best interest to stop now, though quitting is seldom easy.
There are several cessation programs available to help you quit, and your friends at Main Beach Dental are happy to discuss them with you.
But while you still are smoking, you are encouraged to visit us for a complete evaluation of your teeth and gums.
The good news is that we are often able to stop tooth deterioration, gum disease, and warn you of impending cancers, allowing you to seek immediate treatment.
We can also begin the restoration of your smile while you are in the quitting process and help you try to prevent any further damage to your teeth and gums.
Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to talk about your cessation program and treating your mouth!
Dental Care at Main Beach Dental
At Main Beach Dental, your oral health is our top priority.
We are comprised of highly trained registered dentists who have impressive clinical skills, working together with our skilled staff to offer you comprehensive dental services.
We provide gentle, skilled care for all dental conditions and work with you to prevent disease, decay, and too many dental appointments in the future.
Our commitment to our patients is dental health for a lifetime!
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