Tobacco and Health

Tobacco and Healthy Teeth Don't Mix  

Do you smoke? If you don't, you probably know some friends or see other students at school who do. Too many young people today are getting addicted to tobacco, and the results are showing up in their mouths.

Smoking or using smokeless "chewing" tobacco can make you four times more likely of developing oral cancer (especially on the rise in women as more younger girls take up smoking) - and it's not just something that older adults get anymore.

On top of cancer, tobacco causes:

bad breath
stained teeth
bone loss
shrinking gums
mouth sores
decreased senses of taste and smell
poor healing of mouth sores
     hairy tongue leukoplakia

     Really Gross Pictures

Young people who think that smokeless "chewing" tobacco is somehow safer than lighting up are putting themselves at terrible risk of illness. Chewing tobacco releases a variety of chemicals into the body and often causes mouth sores, cracked and bleeding lips and gums, and can lead to cancer of the throat, mouth and gums.

How does Tobacco affect oral health?

Tobacco contains many substances known to be cytotoxic (destructive to your body's cells and tissues). Smokers have more calculus (hardened dental plaque) than nonsmokers, and heavy smokers have more calculus than light smokers. The Nicotine in tobacco causes something called vasoconstriction (narrowing the blood vessels). Blood circulation - certainly an important thing! - has been shown to decrease by as much as 70% in your mouth during the smoking of a cigarette. Tobacco smoking, furthermore, also affects your body's immune responses (defense system).

New studies are even showing the possibility that second-hand tobacco smoke (the smoke from someone else's cigarette) causes periodontal disease (gum disease).

Sugar? In tobacco?

We all know that sugar is a major cause of tooth decay. More than one-fifth of the content of some brands of smokeless "chewing" tobacco is sugar, and causes a much greater risk of developing cavities.

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