Sunday, 19 February 2017

Smoking and Oral Health

You've probably noticed the warnings and images on cigarette packs: "Smoking can be injurious to health” or “Quitting smoking can reduce some serious health risks." When you read these signs, what diseases come to mind? Probably, lung cancer, or emphysema. But did you know most periodontal diseases in smokers are caused by smoking?

How can smoking cause gum disease?

Smoking or tobacco products can cause gum disease by affecting the soft tissue and bone attachment of your teeth. It is believed that smoking interferes with the normal functioning of the cells within the gum tissue. This interruption can make smokers a lot more vulnerable to infections and damage the flow of blood to the gums.

Do cigar and pipe smoking cause dental issues?

Just like cigarettes, cigars and pipes do lead to oral health issues. Cigar smokers experience alveolar bone loss and tooth loss at the rates equal to those who smoke cigarettes. Pipe smokers also are susceptible to tooth loss as cigarette smokers. Beyond such risks, cigar and pipe smokers are still at risk for pharyngeal and oral cancers as well as stained teeth, bad breath, and increased risk of gum disease.

Is smokeless tobacco safer?

No. Like cigarettes and cigars, smokeless tobacco contains more than 25 chemicals that have been known for increasing the danger of oral cancer and throat cancer and esophagus. In fact, chewing tobacco comprises of higher nicotine levels than cigarettes, making it difficult to quit than cigarettes.

Smokeless tobacco irritates the gum tissue, making it pull away or recede from your teeth. After gum tissues recede, teeth roots get exposed, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay. Exposed roots may also be more sensitive towards cold and hot or other irritants, making drinking ad eating uncomfortable.

Kick the habit of tobacco:

Irrespective of how long you have abused tobacco, quitting at any stage can greatly decrease risks to your oral health. After eleven years of quitting, a smoker’s chances of suffering from a periodontal disease is not very different from those who never smoke.

Apart from this, even decreasing the amount you smoke can help. A study has found that smokers who reduce the number of cigarettes to half a pack per day have only two times the risk of getting gum disease in comparison to nonsmokers, which is considerably lower than the risk seen in people who smoke more than one pack a day.

To stop consuming tobacco, your doctor or dentist may be able to assist you in calming nicotine cravings with nicotine patches and gum. Some of the products can be bought over the counter; others need a prescription from a doctor.

Smoking support groups and cessation classes are normally used in tandem with drug therapy. Such programs are offered by local community hospitals and health insurance companies. Ask your dentist or doctor for information on similar programs being run around you. Herbal remedies and acupuncture and hypnosis, are other treatments that are helpful in kicking the habit.

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