The Effects of Tobacco on Your Oral Health
Tobacco use does not only increase lung cancer, it can also cause oral cancer and periodontal disease — the leading cause of tooth loss for adults.
Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookah and chewing tobacco all contain harmful chemicals and additives that can wreak havoc on your teeth, mouth and gums. Dentists know firsthand that no matter what form of tobacco you use, it negatively affects your mouth.
If quitting is out of the question for you, visiting your dentist regularly will help you to maintain your oral health and prevent further problems. However, the best thing to do for those who want a healthy mouth is to stop using tobacco.
Using tobacco increases the amount of your mouth’s calculus — a hard material more commonly known as tarter — that can’t be removed by brushing and flossing. Visiting your dentist for regular check-ups is the only way to remove calculus. Dentists have to use ultrasonic tools and specialized sharp instruments to clean off excess calculus.
Aside from staining your teeth, calculus also contains bacteria that infects your gums and destroys the attachment fibers ofyour teeth. Left unattended, bacteria will shrink bone and gum until your teeth loosen and fall out.
Continued tobacco use hides the symptoms commonly associated with periodontal diseases, making it significantly harder to detect and treat. Tobacco use decreases the amount of oxygen and nutrients sent to your gum and bones, which is what thwarts the healing process. Tobacco use also causes bad breath, cancer, loss of smell and taste, a hairy black tongue and mouth sores and spots.
However, if you quit today, you’re one step closer to a healthy mouth. Either way, regular visits to your dentist for professional cleanings and advice on how to best take care of your teeth are vital for your overall health.
To learn more about Grand Rapids dentist Dr. Kent Wildern and the services we offer, please contact us here or call us at 616.364.8716. Kent Wildern DDS and his dental team strive to provide patients with optimal care while making them feel right at home.