SMILE BRIGHTER WITHOUT TOBACCO
We're so excited it's World No Tobacco Day (WNTD)! A celebration created by the World Health Organization (WHO), World No Tobacco Day helps raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco use. At DentalWorks - High Point, our team discourages the use of tobacco in our High Point, NC patients since tobacco products are extremely dangerous to your oral and general health. If you or someone you care about uses any tobacco products, take a moment to learn about how using tobacco can impact the health and appearance of your whole mouth.
TYPES OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS
From traditional cigarettes and cigars to modern e-cigs and hookah bars, there are plenty of ways to use tobacco. No matter how tobacco is packaged, they are all addictive and damaging to your health.
- SMOKELESS TOBACCO
More commonly known as chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco comes in cans known as dip or snuff. While chewing tobacco saves people around you from breathing second-hand smoke, an average dip has as much nicotine as 3 – 4 cigarettes. A can of dip typically mixes the tobacco with sand and grit, which grinds on your enamel.
One of the newest forms of tobacco, dissolvables are appealing to many because they don't produce smoke and they don't require spitting. Dissolvables look like lozenges or cough drops and they come in different flavors to make them taste better. These are especially dangerous since they look like candy and can be poisonous to small children.
Commonly adding a sweet flavor (such as mint, cherry, or licorice), hookah or waterpipe smoking has become a social phenomenon in hookah bars across America. However, hookah smoking is as toxic as cigarette smoke.
- ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES
Also known as e-cigarettes, vape pens, e-hookah, or hookah pens, electronic cigarettes have a growing popularity, especially in younger people. The e-cigarette liquid is burned and turned into an aerosol, which can contain many toxins including nicotine, heavy metals (tin, nickel, and lead) as well as other cancer-causing chemicals.
Available with and without filters, as well as in light or menthol, cigarettes are what most people think of when tobacco is discussed. Available at most High Point, NC grocery stores and gas stations, cigarettes are still a popular choice among tobacco users.
Regular cigars, as well as little cigars (cigarillos), typically have more tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide than cigarettes, but they are seen by many as a healthier choice. Cigar clubs can make smoking cigars seem sophisticated or masculine, but it is still dangerous to your oral and overall health.
WHAT ABOUT E-CIGARETTES WITHOUT TOBACCO?
E-cigarettes are a relatively new product, so there are not many definitive studies on related long-term health problems. However, even without tobacco, e-cigarette users are inhaling dangerous chemicals. Current research also indicates that young people who vape without tobacco are more likely to start smoking cigarettes when they are older. To be safe, it's better to avoid e-cigarettes.
EFFECTS OF TOBACCO ON ORAL HEALTH
A main cause of preventable disease and death, tobacco has no health benefits and a good deal of drawbacks. Some of the most prominent effects of using tobacco on your oral health are:
- COMPLICATIONS AFTER ORAL SURGERY
Tobacco negatively affects your immune and circulatory systems, which is why patients are told not to smoke or use tobacco before or after a surgery or medical procedure. So, in order to restore the damage done to your oral health by tobacco, you will need to quit using tobacco or risk serious complications.
- STAINED OR YELLOW TEETH
Chewing or smoking tobacco leaves stains on your enamel and makes your smile look dull and yellow. Once you quit, professional whitening treatments can remove years of tobacco stains and revitalize your smile.
- HIGHER RISK OF ORAL CANCER
Your risk of getting cancer in your lips, mouth, salivary glands, tonsils, throat, and esophagus is higher if you use tobacco. According to statistics by the American Cancer Society, 90% of patients with oral cancer have used tobacco products. The longer you use tobacco products, the greater your risk of developing oral cancer.
- HIGHER RISK OF GUM DISEASE
Smoking and especially chewing tobacco raises your risk of developing gum disease. Gingivitis and periodontitis (the two stages of gum disease) cause bleeding gums, loose teeth, and gumline recession.
- CHRONIC BAD BREATH (HALITOSIS)
Your family, friends, and co-workers may be keeping you at a distance because using tobacco leaves you with bad breath. The smell of tobacco is so strong that even mints, mouthwash, and brushing your teeth may not be enough to improve your halitosis.
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT QUITTING
Tobacco is addictive so we understand that it's difficult to stop. If you are interested in quitting, schedule an appointment with a general physician in High Point, NC to learn about tobacco cessation aids. Your doctor may be able to write you a prescription for a medication (for example, Zyban or Chantix) or recommend other products (nicotine patches, lozenges, gum, inhalers, or nasal spray). Some people get help with more holistic treatments, such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) with a certified therapist, group therapy, acupuncture, or hypnotherapy. One or a combination of these may be the key to helping you quit so if one doesn’t work for you, keep trying. Look into your health insurance benefits to see if they have any programs or discounts on tobacco cessation aids. Quitting tobacco can rapidly improve your health and decrease your risk of many problems, including oral cancer.
RESTORE YOUR SMILE AFTER QUITTING TOBACCO
Once you've quit using tobacco, you can start to restore your oral health. Schedule an oral health examination and consultation with your dentist in High Point, NC. They will assess the current condition of your mouth and then create a customized treatment plan to restore your teeth and gums. This may include scaling and root planing to remove tobacco residue and bacteria under your gumline or periodontal surgery if your gumline is receding. If you're looking for an excellent dental practice in High Point, NC who performs general, restorative, and cosmetic procedures, schedule a consultation at DentalWorks - High Point.