Dentists say OK to World No Tobacco Day
Despite all evidence and high profile campaigns, the devastation caused by smoking continues – tobacco harms your mouth, your body and kills people. Yet still a considerable number of Australians choose to smoke.
Did You Know?
Tobacco use is an important risk for the development of coronary disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.
The Facts about Smoking Tobacco
The following facts provide an insight into just how dangerous smoking can be:
- Smoking kills half of all smokers who continue to smoke
- At least 1 in 4 of those who die are aged 35-69
- A smoker who doesn’t quit loses 10 years of their life on average
- Smoking is responsible for about 85% of lung cancers
The Impact of Smoking on Your Teeth
While most people know about the dangers of smoking for your lungs and general health, many are unaware of the damage it does to your teeth and mouth.
This list highlights how smoking impacts your teeth and how tobacco harms your mouth:
1. Gum Disease
Gum disease is a bacterial infection that makes your gums red, swollen and eventually destructive to the soft tissues and bones that hold your teeth in place. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, but tobacco use is a major risk factor in gum disease. Smokers are up to six times more likely than non-smokers to have periodontal disease. Find out more about tobacco and gum disease here.
2. Oral Cancer
Tobacco use is a major cause of oral cancer. Around 59% of mouth (oral) cancers in Australia are caused by smoking. This is because tobacco contains carcinogenic chemicals, which, when smoked or chewed, exposes your oral tissues to them. Genetic changes may then occur in the cells of your oral tissues, resulting in oral cancer.
Similar to gum disease, your risk for developing oral cancer decreases significantly when you stop using tobacco products. In fact, 10 to 20 years after you quit, your risk will be about the same as a lifelong non-smoker. Of course, it’s still a good idea to see your dentist regularly for oral cancer screenings.
4. Bad Breath
The chemicals in tobacco smoke can remain in the mouth leading to bad breath. Repeatedly inhaling hot gases parches the tongue and gums, leaving a dry, chemical-filmed environment where anaerobic oral bacteria can run amok. Tobacco harms your mouth by drying out the palate with causes chronic bad breath.
5. Discoloured Teeth
Smoking is a major cause of tooth discolouration and dental stains. The tobacco smoke passing over the teeth leads to “extrinsic discolouration” (stains originating at the topmost enamel layer of the teeth). When this occurs, teeth tend to become yellow in colour, particularly the front and most prominent teeth, then over time building up to an ugly brown colour.
Preventing tobacco smoke stains from building up over time is an important part of your oral hygiene routine when you’re a smoker. We recommend making regular appointments with your dentist for teeth whitening and oral health screenings.
Become a champion on World No Tobacco Day
If you or a loved one who is a smoker, the team at Dental Care professionals urge you to book an appointment with us. We are here to help and can assist them – to get their smile back on track as well as monitor them for other danger signs.