How Tobacco Affects Your Oral Health

How Tobacco Affects Your Oral Health

In this guide brought to you by Sisko Dentistry for Oral Cancer Month, we explain how smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco can impact your oral health.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer describes cancers of the mouth and the back of the throat. Approximately 53,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. Symptoms can include a lump, a white or red patch on the inside of the mouth, or a sore that does not heal. Oral cancers can develop inside the mouth, on gum tissue, in the throat area; and on, under, or at the base of the tongue. Common causes of oral cancer include HPV and tobacco and alcohol use.

What Is Cancer?

Cancer is a serious, potentially fatal disease characterized by abnormal cell growth. The illness is cited as being the cause of nearly 1 in 6 deaths in the year 2020 and is regarded as one of the leading causes of death on a global scale. Though there are a number of oral cancers, cancer can start anywhere in the trillions of cells in the human body.

Healthy human cells normally grow and multiply to form other new healthy cells. These healthy new cells replace old cells that become damaged and die. This process is part of the natural life cycle of a cell. In the event of cancer, damaged or abnormal cells grow and multiply when they shouldn’t. This growth of these damaged or abnormal cells can form lumps of tissue called tumors. Cancerous tumors, or malignant tumors, invade nearby tissue and travel further in the body in a process called metastasis. This spread of malignant cells can reduce adequate oxygen supply and interrupt your body’s waste removal process, impacting vital organ function and potentially leading to death. Cancers of most parts of the body can result in solid tumors with the exception of leukemia, which are cancer of the blood.

Does Smoking And Chewing Tobacco Increase Risk Of Oral Cancer?

Studies show that tobacco use increases somebody’s risk of cancer. The American Lung Association states that smoking cigarettes are the cause of 90% of all lung cancers. Compared to non-smokers, smokers are also ten times more likely to develop oral cancer. Twelve other types of cancer that affect other parts of the body can be caused by smoking cigarettes, including cancer of the voice box. Smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco and snuff have been linked to cancer of the gums, cheek, and lips, corresponding with wherever tobacco is held in the mouth. Other cancers associated with chewing tobacco and snuff use include cancers of the pancreas and esophagus.

What Are Other Ways That Smoking Cigarettes Affect Your Oral And Dental Health?

  • Smoking cigarettes can affect your gums and teeth in a number of ways. The changes that smoking can have on your smile can affect your appearance and impact your confidence. Cigarette smoking is shown to cause teeth staining or discoloration and an increased risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.

  • Smokers also report having decreased taste, which affects one’s ability to enjoy food.

  • Another way that a cigarette habit can affect the first impression you make is through halitosis or chronic bad breath.

  • Smoking can impact the medical treatment of dental issues such as tooth removal or gum and mouth surgery, as smokers often have reduced natural recovery abilities.

  • Smoking can lead to osteoporosis of the jaw or bone loss.

  • Cigarette smoking can whiten the soft tissue of the smoker’s mouth in a phenomenon called smoker’s keratosis.

The best way to prevent any serious dental or oral health issues is by visiting your dentist twice a year for regular cleaning and check-ups. If you are searching for a family or cosmetic dentist in Tallmadge, OH, consider Sisko Dentistry. Call 330-633-9510 to schedule an appointment today.


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