By now, most people know that tobacco and nicotine consumption is bad for your overall well-being. Smoking and nicotine use has been proven to increase the incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Not only does smoking and smokeless varieties of tobacco affect general health, they affect dental health, too. Smoking and tobacco use can increase your risk for periodontal disease and oral cancer. If you smoke or use nicotine in any form, be sure to mention this with our dentist at your next checkup. This will help us detect potential problems early on by assessing your risk factor.
Periodontal Disease and Nicotine
Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the biggest threats to your oral health. Associated with irritated and infected gingival tissue, periodontal disease can destroy gums, teeth, and bone in its advanced stages. Nicotine use—including cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco—irritate and inflame gum tissue thus greatly increasing the risk for infected gums.
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss because this condition breaks down the supportive bond between teeth and gums. Once the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, the roots of teeth become exposed to irritants like plaque, debris, and bacteria. The roots of teeth are not protected by tooth enamel. Exposed roots are prone to infection, abscess, and lacking support from the gums, can fall out.
Oral Cancer and Tobacco Use
Like other cancers, cancers of the oral cavity can be fatal. The carcinogens found in chewing tobacco and cigarette smoke increase the risk of oral cancer. Carcinogens cause malignant cells to form. Oral cancers can develop anywhere in the oral cavity and commonly form on the linings of soft tissue, the tongue, and at the back of the mouth. When caught early on, oral cancer can be curable. During routine checkups, our dentist conducts oral cancer screenings. If suspicious tissue is seen, we will recommend a biopsy.
For smoking cessation tips or to schedule an appointment, contact the office of Dr. Philip Kozlow today!