Use of Tobacco Affecting Oral Health

Use of Tobacco Affecting Oral Health

Posted by Dr. Thomas Flavin Oct 29,2023

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Did you know that tobacco use not only affects your lungs and heart but also wreaks havoc on your oral health? From stained teeth to gum disease and even oral cancer, the consequences are far-reaching. But fear not! We have some tips up our sleeves to help you maintain good oral hygiene while kicking the habit.

The Link Between Tobacco Use and Oral Health

Tobacco use is not only harmful to your overall health but can also have a significant impact on your oral health. From stained teeth and bad breath to serious conditions like gum disease and oral cancer, the link between tobacco use and oral health is undeniable. When you smoke or chew tobacco, it exposes your mouth to harmful chemicals that can damage the delicate tissues in your gums and throat. These chemicals can cause inflammation, increase plaque buildup, and lead to gum disease. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease compared to non-smokers.

Not only does tobacco use increase the risk of gum disease, but it also slows down the healing process. If you require any dental treatment, such as tooth extraction or implant surgery, smoking can significantly delay the healing time and increase complications. Furthermore, long-term tobacco use increases the likelihood of developing oral cancer. The toxic substances present in cigarettes or chewing tobacco can damage DNA in cells lining the mouth and throat, leading to abnormal growths or tumors.

Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Health and Quitting Tobacco

  1. Commit to quitting: The first step towards maintaining good oral health is to make a firm commitment to quit tobacco use. Understand the harms it can cause to your mouth and overall wellbeing, and set a clear goal of becoming tobacco-free.
  2. Seek support: Quitting tobacco can be challenging, but you don't have to do it alone. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups who can provide encouragement and help you stay on track. Consider joining a smoking cessation program or seeking professional guidance from a healthcare provider.
  3. Practice good oral hygiene: Regardless of whether you smoke or not, proper oral hygiene is crucial for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, floss regularly, and use mouthwash recommended by your dentist.
  4. Visit your dentist regularly: Regular dental check-ups are essential for catching any potential issues early on and ensuring that your oral health stays in top shape. Your dentist can also provide additional guidance on quitting tobacco and offer resources that may assist in the process.
  5. Find healthier alternatives: If you're struggling with cravings after quitting tobacco, try finding healthier alternatives like sugar-free gum or mints to keep your mouth occupied while satisfying the urge to reach for a cigarette.

Remember that quitting tobacco not only improves your oral health but also has numerous other benefits for your overall wellbeing. Stay motivated, seek support when needed, and take small steps towards achieving a life free from tobacco addiction!

To learn more, contact Healthy Smiles of Saint Louis at 4224 Watson Rd, St. Louis, MO 63109, or call (314) 832-1366.

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