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What Smoking, Tobacco Can Do To Your Mouth

Dr. McMahon here.

Today I want to give my Edgewood dental patients a special message about something that will greatly affect your oral and overall health: smoking. Now, you probably know that smoking is linked to problems like lung cancer and emphysema.

You’ve also probably seen the anti-smoking commercials and advertisements on the TV. These ads are directed at smokers and especially young people who may smoke. A few days ago, a staff member here at Edgewood Dental Care showed me a series of anti-smoking ads geared toward dentistry. It’s about time, I thought.

One of the commercials shows a young man purchasing a pack of cigarettes. When he lays down some money for the pack of smokes, the convenience store worker remarks that the pack of cigarettes will cost “a lot more” than that. The young man quickly pulls a tooth out and lays it on the counter. This commercial is pretty jarring, but the purpose is to show how smoking increases the risk of gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

That’s all true, but of course it’s not that dramatic. Today I want to share a few more dental problems that come with smoking and using tobacco.

What Smoking/Tobacco Are Doing to Your Smile

Gum disease is one of the biggest problems that we worry about as dentists. It’s a problem that will affect your oral and overall health. About half the population will struggle with gum disease in their lifetime, and unfortunately, the advanced stages of gum disease are not curable. The bad news for tobacco users is that they face a higher risk of gum disease than nonsmokers. Smokers are twice as likely to have gum disease compared to nonsmokers. It’s not just smoking. New research shows that e-cigarette also increase your risk of getting gum disease. That’s probably no surprise to you, but it’s necessary to say, as e-cigarettes were advertised as a less harmful alternative to smoking (they’re not).

Additionally, smoking and tobacco constrict the blood vessels and makes it harder for your body to heal itself. So, if you do have gum disease and smoke, our methods of intervention may not be as successful.

There are More Cancers to Worry About Than You Might Know

Smoking can lead to lung cancer. We all know that. But lung cancer is hardly the only cancer you need to worry about. There are SEVERAL types of cancer affiliated with the use of tobacco, including oral cancers. Smokers and tobacco users face a higher risk of:

• Lung cancer
• Live cancer
• Leukemia
• Esophagus cancer
• Bladder cancer
• Cervical cancer
• Kidney and renal pelvis cancer
• Larynx cancer
• Stomach cancer
• Pancreatic cancer

That’s an overwhelming list to link about. Our office can help you identify an abnormalities in your mouth to potentially avoid problems with oral cancer. A patient over the age of 40 who smokes and consumes alcohol regularly are considered at a high risk for oral cancer. There are nearly 50,000 new cases of oral cancer every year in America, and the five-year survival rate is only 50 percent. The good news is that oral cancer is typically treatable if caught early.

If you are a smoker or regularly use tobacco, you are at a higher risk of dangerous medical problems and oral problems. You need to maintain your regular dental exams so we can monitor your mouth and check for any abnormalities.

I hope that you’ll consider our office for your dental needs. We have the technology to swiftly deal with your dental problems. We’re eager to meet you. Call our office today at 859-474-7830 to book a visit.

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