Tobacco & Oral Health
Tobacco has serious negative effects not only on your overall health but specifically on the soft and hard tissues of your mouth. Both smoking and chewing tobacco have serious risks, including oral cancer, gum disease, poor healing after surgery, receding gums, and tooth decay.
Cigarettes contain over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. As you inhale, the smoke lingers in your mouth before you exhale. Smoking directly affects your oral health because it reduces blood flow to your gums, reduces the vitamin C levels needed to keep gums healthy, and raises the temperature in the mouth which causes damage to important cells.
Smoking also causes bad breath, stained teeth, and tongue, a dulled sense of taste and smell, and delayed healing after trauma to the mouth.
Impact of Smokeless Tobacco on Oral Health
Smokeless tobacco is just as bad for you as smoking. In fact, chewing tobacco allows the harmful chemicals and substances to stay in your mouth longer and come into direct contact with your teeth and gums. This causes rapid tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Smokeless tobacco users are up to 50 times more likely to develop oral cancer, especially in areas where chewing tobacco is held in your mouth. Learn more about oral cancer.
Smoking and Bad Breath
Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco cause prolonged bad breath. Tar, nicotine, and other harmful substances remain in your mouth every time you inhale cigarette smoke or put a pinch of chew between your cheek and gums. Brushing and flossing can help, but nothing can completely eradicate the negative impact that smoking and chewing have on the breath. Smoking also dries out the mouth. Without an adequate level of saliva in the mouth, bacteria do not get rinsed away naturally, thus causing bad breath and oftentimes tooth decay.
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