Dr. Frank Roach Explains How Tobacco Use Affects Your Oral Health
Many people are not aware of the dangerous effects that tobacco use can have on their oral health. Dentists frequently warn their patients that they could be doing permanent damage, especially where smokeless tobacco is concerned. Dr. Frank Roach DDS, an Atlanta dentist, examines the effect that tobacco use can have on oral health and why it is important to quit.
Gum Disease and Tooth Loss
Gum disease or periodontal disease is caused by an infection of the gums. This infection can affect the bone structure supporting your teeth. In some cases, it can lead to tooth loss. Smoking is one of the major causes of gum disease in America.
Gum disease begins when bacteria stay on the teeth too long. If the bacteria settle under your gums, plaque and tartar develop. This leads to gingivitis or early gum disease.
Severe gum disease or periodontitis means that the tissue and bone holding your teeth in place may break down, causing tooth loss.
80 percent of patients with oral cancers use tobacco in some form. A patient’s risk of oral cancer depends on how often the products are used. When combined with heavy alcohol use, the risk of oral cancer could jump by up to 100 percent.
Each type of tobacco product is linked to specific cancers. These diseases are easily preventable if a person never smokes or uses tobacco, and the risk can be diminished if a person quits.
Dangerous poisons in tobacco damage or change DNA in the cells. Damaged DNA can lead to cancer. In addition, tobacco use also hampers the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight back against the cancerous growth.
Cigarettes cause 90 percent of all cases of lung cancer. Smokers also have a 10 times higher risk of oral cancer, according to Dr. Frank Roach. The smoke from a cigarette contains 7,000 chemicals, including 70 that are known carcinogens. Some of these dangerous chemicals include acetone, ammonia, arsenic, and formaldehyde.
Cigars and Pipes
Many smokers may believe that using cigars and pipes is less dangerous in terms of the risk of oral cancer. Many smokers claim that they do not inhale the smoke, but even so, cigar and pipe smokers have a higher risk of cancers of the larynx, esophagus, lungs, and oral cavity.
Compared with people who do not smoke, cigar smokers are 4 to 10 times more likely to develop oral, esophageal, and laryngeal cancer, causing death. Cigar smokers often take an hour or more to finish a large cigar, ingesting the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. Even an unlit cigar can lead to nicotine absorption and raise the risk of oral cancer.
Chewing tobacco or snuff is another product that some users may believe is less dangerous than smoking cigarettes, but it poses serious risks to oral health.
Snuff and chewing tobacco cause cancer in the lips, gums, and cheeks. Cancer generally occurs in the place where the tobacco is held. The type of cancer caused by smokeless tobacco often starts with leukoplakia, a white patch inside the mouth or throat. Smokeless tobacco is also linked to pancreatic and esophageal cancers.
Other Dental Issues
In addition to causing serious diseases like periodontal disease and cancer, smoking can also keep you from looking your best. Smoking and smokeless tobacco stain the teeth yellow. They also cause more plaque and tartar to build-up on the teeth. They are associated with bad breath, and they cause delayed healing after oral surgery.
Your Dentist is On Your Side
With regular dental checkups twice a year from a professional like Dr. Frank Roach, your dentist can pinpoint any problems at an early stage and make sure that you can be treated successfully. For this reason, it is very important that people visit the dentist often. Your dentist is on your side when it comes to preserving your oral health, and he or she wants to make sure that you can live your life free of cancer or other serious diseases.
Dr. Frank Roach DDS encourages every tobacco user to quit as soon as possible. Medication, therapy, and support groups may all be effective when it comes to quitting. Understanding how tobacco use affects your oral health may cause you to think twice before you start smoking.