Smoking and chewing tobacco have a terrible reputation throughout all medical fields – most notably the lungs and heart. The carcinogens and other harmful chemicals eat away at a user’s body until it becomes incurably sick. Surprisingly enough, cigarettes and chewing tobacco harm more than just your lungs and heart, but also affect your oral health. Using tobacco can lead to throat, mouth and tongue cancer as well as intense gum disease. Additionally, those who are repeated users tend to lose their sense of taste and smell as well. There are a few long-term health hazards that are linked to smoking and chewing tobacco.
Users are 2.5 times more likely to contract gum disease than those who do not smoke or chew tobacco. Smokers are known to have a higher amount of “bad bacteria” in their mouths, including the cavity causing bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and Prevotella intermedia. Upon quitting smoking, your gums will rebuild to form a stronger fight against plaque.
Essentially, your mouth is a direct entrance to the rest of your body and what you choose to put in it will affect the rest of your health. Along with causing severe gum disease, smoking can also affect the success of a dental implant. The likelihood of a failed implant is caused by a lack of strength in your gums to keep the implant in place.
The risk of getting oral cancer rises in accordance to the amount of times you smoke or chew tobacco. Although causation has yet to be proven, there is a strong correlation between the damage smoking does to cells and the likelihood of those damaged cells become cancerous. When combined with alcohol, the chances of getting oral cancer skyrockets.
Along with these three long-term effects of tobacco, your gums and teeth will suffer in other ways when addicted to cigarettes and chewing tobacco, including:
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Mouth sores
Most of these unhealthy effects of consuming tobacco products will subside upon quitting tobacco use altogether, but some may take longer to heal and rebuild than others. Quitting tobacco use can be very hard, fortunately there are a number of treatments and programs to help subside the urge. If you are a smoker and are interested in quitting or need an oral exam, contact A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe in Houston, Texas for an appointment.