“Smoking is dangerous to your health!” That is what’s written outside a pack of cigarettes and that message also means it affects your oral health. You could maybe easily solve discolored teeth and use mouth rinse forever if only to mask tobacco-related foul-smelling breath but what about the following other serious health issues? You see, tobacco does not only stain your tongue and your teeth but it can lead to oral cancer and several gum diseases which may not only cost your pockets a lot of burden but cost you your life as well.
Tobacco can cause serious oral cancers.
Cancer of the throat, the lips, the tongue, the mouth, the throat are among the serious effects of tobacco and the longer you have been using it, the higher the chances of you getting the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, a majority of those who acquired oral cancer used tobacco. More than half of the cases end up in death.
Smoking can lead to worse kinds of gum and jaw diseases.
Many smokers suffer from redness, irritation, swelling and bleeding of gums. This could lead to a more serious periodontal disease that may eventually damage the jawbone and cause loss of teeth if left untreated.
Do all kinds of tobacco cause oral health problems?
Yes! And it doesn’t matter if it is smoked, chewed or simply inhaled; it is just a matter of time. Given enough exposure, the risks tobacco poses would manifest in the form of decay, cavities or worse, oral cancer. In that sense, there is no safer tobacco to use contrary to some belief that when chewed instead of smoked, or when used with a pipe, the risks are not as high.
What if you are having trouble quitting your tobacco habit?
Habits are hard to break especially if you don’t get help particularly in the case of tobacco use. It has an addictive effect and quitting may be difficult. You could try gradually cutting back if quitting cold turkey is not possible. While you are in the process, it would be of great help to regularly see your dentist so that in case a disease is developing or has already developed, it may be detected and appropriate treatment may be delivered. Don’t wait until it’s too late because some treatment may not be a pleasant experience.
Here are 3 ways to help you get on the road to good oral health:
1. Maintain a religious oral hygiene and do it properly.
Most of the components of tobacco can cause several dental problems including cavities (some tobaccos contain sugar to make them taste better). Without proper dental hygiene, they could worsen faster. Brush and floss regularly and correctly. As unusual as it may sound but you may need to have your dentist show you the proper way to brush and floss just to ensure you prolong the health of your teeth and gums while trying to quit tobacco.
2. Naturally, you will have to kick the habit.
If you want to reduce the chances of you acquiring any of the dreaded tobacco-related oral diseases, quit as early as you can. There are many ways to help you kick the habit. Ask your dentist to give you recommendations. Despite the threat of periodontal disease, 10 years after kicking the habit, you are as good as new.
3. Regularly visit your dentist for a dental checkup.
Early detection is your best defense against the threats of tobacco-related oral diseases most especially cancer. This can only become possible when you frequent your dentist’s office for a checkup and early treatment can go a long way in saving your teeth, your gums and your overall health.
Are you in the habit of using tobacco? It’s about time you see your doctor and dentist about it.