How Tobacco Affects Your Oral Health
Although its usage has declined over the last several years, nearly 5 million people continue to die annually as a result of tobacco. At current rates, that number is expected to increase to 10 million deaths a year by 2030. Tobacco use has been linked to asthma, chronic bronchitis, strokes, heart attacks and lung, throat, mouth, kidney, bladder, and oral cancers. It can also cause serious problems for your dental health. It is most significantly linked to oral cancers, including throat, mouth, and larynx.
Other dental problems associated with smoking or chewing tobacco include:
• Dry mouth
Smoking can dry out your mouth and leave you with chronic bad breath. Dry mouth can increase the bacterial load in your mouth, which can predispose you to other serious dental diseases.
• Tooth decay
The bacteria that cause cavities thrive in smokers’ mouths, and people who smoke are more likely to suffer from cavities but also to need root canals. They are even more likely to have complications after root canals, more likely to lose teeth, and more likely to have complications after routine extractions.
• Gum disease
Smokers have a higher rate of periodontal disease, which is associated with tooth and bone loss, as well as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Kicking the habit is not necessarily easy, but each day you go without smoking brings you a few more benefits. Within just 12 hours of your last cigarette, carbon monoxide levels will be nearly normal, and within three days of your last cigarette, your body will be nearly free of nicotine metabolites. Within a few weeks to a few months, your heart attack risk will begin to drop, and inflammation markers will decrease in just a month.
You do not have to quit on your own. Programs are available to provide you with the support you need to help you quit tobacco. We can explain your options at your next dental cleaning and exam and get you started on the road to a tobacco-free life. Call us today to learn more or to schedule your appointment with Dr. Frame.
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