It’s common knowledge that tobacco in any form is extremely harmful to your overall health, but it can also be incredibly damaging to your oral health. Gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer are all ailments that are widely associated with the use of tobacco, either through smoking cigarettes, cigars, or chewing tobacco.
How Tobacco Damages Oral Health
- Tobacco products can weaken the attachment the soft tissue has to the teeth, causing the gums to pull away. Once the gums begin to recede like this, the roots of the teeth will become exposed, increasing tooth sensitivity and causing an increased risk of gum disease.
- Tobacco can increase the risk of developing oral cancers, including throat and mouth cancers.
- Smoking will cause a build-up of tartar on the teeth, causing them to appear stained and yellow and creating bad breath.
- Lastly, smoking can delay the healing process after you receive any type of oral surgery or tooth extraction.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
If you do smoke or chew tobacco, it’s important to know the signs of oral cancer and keep a close eye out for them. These symptoms include:
- Pain or numbness in the lips, mouth, or other oral tissues
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing or moving the jaw
- Signs of irritation such as burning, tenderness, or sores that won’t heal
- Changes in the way the teeth fit together
- Color changes in the soft tissues of the mouth – gray, red, or white patches
- Bumps or lumpy patches in the soft tissues of the mouth or throat
If you’re a smoker and are concerned about your oral health, please contact your general dentist to make an appointment. For any of your orthodontic needs, please speak with Dr. Garlock here at Garlock Orthodontics. Our family orthodontic office is located in Aurora, Colorado.