Effects of Tobacco on Mouth, Gums and Oral Health

Do you frequently smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco? If yes, you are putting the health of your mouth, teeth and gums at a risk.

The effects of tobacco on oral health are:

Smokeless/Snuff/Chewing Tobacco & Smoking

  • Wearing down of teeth: Chewing tobacco leaves which have particles are abrasive to teeth. While chewing they mixes with saliva and form an abrasive paste is created that wears down the enamel of teeth over time. Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold increases due to erosion of enamel from the grit created by chewing tobacco leading to wearing down of teeth.

  • Gum disease: Smoking interferes with the growth of blood vessels and capillaries resulting in slowing of the healing of gum tissue while getting them treated for a gum disease. They irritate gums are causes periodontal problems like bleeding gums, gum recession etc.

  • Oral Cancer: Smokeless tobacco (chewing/snuffing) causes cancers of the tongue, mouth, lip and pancreas. Like cigarettes, they increase the chances of oral cancer as it contains more than 28 cancer-inducing chemicals. Risk for cancer of the oesophagus, throat, colon and bladder also increases because the toxins in the tobacco when mixed with saliva can be swallowed.

  • Tooth decay: Chances of tooth decay are also increased because sugar and flavours are often added to enhance the taste of smokeless tobacco.

  • Delayed healing after oral surgery: Toxic chemicals in tobacco interfere with the growth of blood vessels and capillaries leading to slow healing after a tooth extraction or oral surgery.

  • Bad breath

  • Stained teeth

  • loss of taste and smell

  • reduced blood supply to the mouth

  • increased build-up of plaque and tartar on your teeth and gums

What is the risk of developing oral cancer?

Approximately 90% of people with cancer of the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat use or have used tobacco. The risk of developing these cancers significantly increase with the amount of tobacco smoked. People that smoke are six times more likely than non-smokers to develop these cancers.

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