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Although everyone’s aware of the evil effects of smoking on overall health, however, the use of tobacco products may cause serious health consequences on oral health. Tobacco use results from number of oral health issues like oral cancer in addition to affecting the overall health.

The more serious oral health complications like gum disease and oral cancer are caused due to smoking and tobacco use.

Relation of smoking to oral cancer

Oral cancer is the most serious issue caused by smoking. Although it is difficult to judge what percentage of people who smoke gets oral cancer, however, between 40 to 50% percent of cases, the death rates of those who gets it is highest, which hasn’t changed much in the last few decades. It is estimated that 90% of the people with oral cancer have used tobacco in some form. The risks of oral cancer is expected to be six times higher among smokers when compared to non-smokers. The risks get greater depending upon the longevity of tobacco usage.

Relation of smoking to periodontal disease

Dental decay is generally not caused by smoking cigarettes, but it causes periodontal, or gum disease in which bone loss is very common. Bone loss generally starts out as the inflammation of the gums. With the natural and unfortunate progression, the bones that are supporting the roots of the teeth gets inflamed, which deteriorate the underlying bone. However, there are surgical and non-surgical therapies to reverse the progression of periodontal disease. But, without proper treatment, tooth loss and jawbone damage are generally caused by gum disease.

No tobacco is safe for oral health;

There is a myth that different forms of tobacco are safer for oral health than others. However, it has been told by the experts that any forms of tobacco have its own risks, although it might be harder to figure out which form of tobacco is worse when the tobacco is chewed, smoked or inhaled.

Normal health would be compromised by regular exposure to tobacco in any form. It has been pointed out that, though pipe smokers may not smoke very often, they are still under the risks of getting cancer of the lips, because they will hold the pipe in the same place on the lip. Additionally, there is also a myth stating that chewing tobacco has less risk, but it has been shown that this isn’t true.

People who use chewing tobacco are generally at four to six time greater risk of oral cancer when compared to the people who don’t use tobacco at all. However, it should be noted that people who use smokeless tobacco are also at a greater risk of having tooth decay and cavities as some kinds of chewing tobacco has sugar for a sweeter taste, because sugar is a primary cause of tooth decay.

How to protect your oral health?

Better oral health can be ensured throughout the years by following the three principles;

Quit smoking– Risks of oral health problems generally gets reduced significantly if the person has quit smoking. The risk becomes lower as long the person remain a non-smoker. It has been found that a decade after the person has quit smoking, the risk of a periodontal disease becomes the same as the person who never smoked at all. Hence, a lot of dentists now are taking initiative to help people quit smoking.
Get regular dental checkups- As early detection generally improves the health outcome, recent studies say that a regular dental checkup is a significant way to detect oral cancer early. Dental Professionals advise that “the odds of survival becomes better with sooner the person starts his treatment”.
Brush properly- Because some of the people don’t brush and floss properly, most people develop periodontal disease eventually. The damage to the mouth and gums are also caused by the heat and the carcinogens that are found in cigarettes and tobacco. Thus, people who smoke need to be doubly careful regarding brushing and flossing correctly and doing the same as often as recommended.

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