Tobacco usage is one of the biggest threats to oral health. This includes inhaling tobacco smoke and chewing tobacco. In fact, in one study, it was found that up to half of all smokers have cavities. The mechanisms are still being researched but it is thought that nicotine exposure increases the risk for periodontal disease by damaging the lining of blood vessels in the gums and other parts of the mouth.

Cigarette smoking is the greatest known risk for oral disease. While there are still uncertainties about tobacco-induced periodontal diseases, it is clear that the smoke from cigarettes damages tissues in the mouth. This damage increases the likelihood that a person will develop periodontal disease. Furthermore, smoking has been shown to slow healing of ulcerations in the mouth.

8 Oral Health Problems From Tobacco Usage

1. Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a common side effect of smoking. This can result from the chemicals in cigarettes affecting the tongue and mouth lining.

2. Gingivitis

Smoking can cause gingivitis, also known as gum disease, in those who have never had periodontal disease before. A dry mouth increases the risk of developing gum diseases because it may not provide a proper seal between the teeth and gums that are in close contact when chewing.

3. Tooth Loss

Smoking has also been shown to increase the risk of tooth loss. Smoking causes severe damage to the teeth, especially in children and young adults who are exposed to tobacco smoke as they are growing up. The effect of children and young adults smoking is worse than that of older smokers.

4. Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is another potential outcome that has been linked with smoking. The risk of getting oral cancer is increased by other risk factors as well, such as alcohol intake, poor hygiene and immunosuppressant drugs.

5. Gingival Recession

Gingival recession occurs when the gum recedes from the tooth in response to injury or irritation. This exposes the root surface of the tooth, which may lead to a dental abscess. The inflammation and infection that result from gingival recession can also spread to other parts of the body through a process called sepsis.

6. Periodontal diseases

Periodontal diseases, also known as periodontitis and chronic periodontitis, are the most common oral diseases in the U.S. These conditions occur when bacteria seep into the dental tissue and cause inflammation and destruction of the bone supporting tooth structure or dental plaque. These infections are often irreversible once they have begun and may lead to tooth loss if not treated early on.

7. Recession and Gum Disease

Chewing tobacco has been linked to recession and gum disease. Chewing tobacco causes more damage than smoking because the tobacco is placed directly against the gums and teeth. Also, smokeless tobacco products often contain chemical additives that stain the teeth, bring in new bacteria, erase the protective layer on teeth, can cause oral cancer, etc.

8. Oral Ulcers

Ulcers are open sores in the mouth that can be caused by various disturbances. Tobacco products can cause ulcers in the mouth, especially if they are consumed without water.

Conclusion

Tobacco usage is one of the biggest threats to oral health. Dental diseases are one of the most common reasons for hospital readmission. The best way to avoid these health issues is by quitting smoking all together. Good dental habits include regular brushing and flossing as well as checking with your dentist every 6 months.

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