We’re all familiar with the wide range of health problems linked to tobacco use––heart and lung disease, stroke, diabetes, bronchitis, and emphysema, not to mention 480,000 deaths per year in the United States alone––but less commonly discussed are a host of oral health concerns. In addition to staining teeth 50 shades of brown, smoking is directly linked to:
Inflammation of the salivary gland openings
Increased build-up of plaque on the teeth
Irreversible loss of jaw bone
Increased risk of leukoplakia
Increased risk of developing gum disease––a leading cause of tooth loss
Delayed healing following oral surgery, tooth extraction, and periodontal treatment
Think vaping is a healthier option? Think again. The increasingly popular hookah and e-cigarette vapor can irritate your gum tissue and cause it to recede from your teeth. Once the gum tissue recedes, tooth roots become exposed, so there’s an increased risk of cavities. Also, the sugars that are added for flavor can increase your risk of tooth decay.
Early detection is important to treating disease, so all patients are urged to visit their dentist regularly for check-ups. Comprehensive dental exams are quick and painless, and give your dentist the opportunity to screen your mouth for cancer. Lips, salivary glands, gums, front of the mouth, base of the tongue, oropharynx (back of the throat), inside the cheeks, inside the lower and upper lip, floor of the mouth, and tonsils are thoroughly examined.