World No Tobacco Day, sponsored by the World Health Organization, is held on May 31 this year.
It aims to raise the awareness of the damage that tobacco can inflict and encourage people to quit using tobacco in any of its forms.
At EK Dental Surgery, we completely support the WHO in its efforts to decrease tobacco use.
Each puff of cigarette smoke contains 70 chemicals that have been determined to be cancer-causing, or carcinogenic.
Smoking is the most significant avoidable cause of disease and death in Australia.
A tobacco-related death in Australia occurs about every half-hour, meaning more than 350 times a week..
Let’s zoom in on the specific oral threats posed by tobacco use, and what you can do about it.
Bad breath, called “smoker’s breath” by many people and named “halitosis” by dentists, is associated with using tobacco.
Smoker’s breath can be caused by bacterial build-up supported by tobacco use, or it can come from the lingering smell of the smoke itself.
To eliminate this odour permanently, you need to stop using tobacco products and World No Tobacco Day is a great day to start.
Stained Teeth and Discoloured Gums
Tar and nicotine in cigarettes are known to stain fingers and walls, and they can do the same to teeth and restorations like veneers or crowns.
Over time, your teeth and restorations become discoloured and dingy.
Smoking tobacco can impede blood and oxygen supply resulting in unattractive gums that look thickened and off-colour, ranging from very pale to purple.
Gum disease makes your gums swollen and red, eventually destroying the soft tissues and bones that hold teeth in place.
Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for gum disease, with smokers being six times more likely than nonsmokers to have gum disease.
Tobacco decreases both blood flow and salivary flow throughout your oral cavity. This allows more plaque and calculus to build on your teeth.
It also lowers your gums ability to ward off diseases and heal themselves. The good news is; if you quit tobacco use, the risk of gum disease becomes about the same as a nonsmoker’s in just over ten years.
Delayed Healing Process
Healing processes in the body rely on oxygen. With smoking, oral healing processes slow down. Chemicals in tobacco decrease the flow of blood to oral tissues.
Blood flow brings nutrients and oxygen to your tissues while carrying away waste products.
This slows down the ability to heal and can complicate dental procedures such as tooth extractions and dental implants.
Tobacco use is one of the main causes of oral cancer. Tobacco is full of carcinogens. When tobacco is smoked or chewed, your oral tissues are exposed to them.
Genetic damage may occur at the cellular level, resulting in oral cancer.
In the case of oral cancer, the risk drops significantly when you stop using tobacco products. One decade after quitting, your risk approaches that of a lifelong nonsmoker.
What about Chewing Tobacco?
Smokeless tobacco (also known as snuff or chew) contributes to causing cancer of the lip, mouth, and tongue.
This is because smokeless tobacco products, similar to cigarettes, contain cancer-causing chemicals. In this case, nearly 30 of them have been identified.
A few of the other known health dangers include:
- Risk for cancer beyond the mouth, including the voice box, esophagus, colon, and bladder because toxins in the gooey liquid created by chewing can be swallowed.
- Increased risk of tooth decay, particularly if sugar is added to enhance the flavour of smokeless tobacco.
- Gum irritation, tar and nicotine are a few carcinogens present in tobacco products. They stick to the gums, which can lead to gum (periodontal) disease.
- Tooth sensitivity and erosion due to sand and grit from smokeless tobacco wearing down teeth.
What Can You Do? Stop using tobacco products. Nothing beats cutting off with the bad habit.
Start stopping the use of tobacco products as quickly as you can. It may never be too late to reduce your risk of infections and future complications..
Get regular check-ups at EK Dental Surgery! Regular check-ups pay off beyond plaque control and catching cavities early.
We can spot signs of many diseases, including oral cancer. If you are on a recommended schedule, you likely visit EK Dental Surgery more often than other doctors.
This can lead to early diagnosis and treatment. Early detection improves the chance of successful treatment.
The importance of an oral cancer screening, at least annually, cannot be over-stressed. The testing takes only a few minutes and can save your life.
Reasons to Smile at EK Dental Surgery!
EK Dental Surgery has a wide array of preventative, restorative and cosmetic dental treatments and procedures for children, seniors, and everyone in between!
We are dedicated dentists and staff who provide you with the best care possible. At EK Dental Surgery, we help you reach tip-top dental health and a movie-star smile!
EK Dental Surgery is conveniently located on Springvale Road in Glen Waverley.
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Pay No Gap for Exam, Scale and Clean, and Fluoride Treatment for Medibank, Bupa and HCF.
We are located at 230 Springvale Road in Glen Waverley.