Midwestern University Clinics Dental Institute Dentist Patient Consultation

Tobacco Products and Oral Health

February 2, 2017

The use of tobacco products such as cigarettes, pipes, and chewing tobacco, can cause harmful repercussions to human health. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco was responsible for the death of approximately one billion people worldwide in the course of the 21st century. Use of tobacco products has been linked to several diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Tobacco contains approximately 4,000 chemicals, of which about 69 are considered cancer-causing substances. In the mouth, all these harmful components dissolve in saliva and enter the blood stream which can weaken the immune system and cause oral health problems, such as:

  • Discoloration of teeth, tongue, restorations, and dentures
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Chronic periodontitis (gum disease)
  • Tooth loss
  • Delayed healing after tooth extraction
  • Dental caries
  • Implant failure
  • Alterations in smell and taste
  • Oral cancer (mouth cancer).

Most important, use of tobacco is the number one risk factor for the development of oral cancer, and the risk of developing oral cancer is three times higher in tobacco users compared to non-tobacco users.

Similarly, e-cigarettes may be as harmful as smoking. Some of the liquid solutions used in the battery-operated cigarette contains nicotine and flavoring components that cause systemic and oral health problems. In addition, e-cigarettes heating elements may have a risk of severe burn injuries.

Regular dental visits are very important for the prevention and early detection of tobacco and smoking-related problems, and for optimal oral health. If you use tobacco or are a smoker, the first step in preventing tobacco associated health complications, is through smoking cessation. Our team of healthcare providers at the Midwestern University Dental Institute are here to help. We provide comprehensive oral care services, and guidance with smoking cessation programs which can assist in quitting the habit and improve your overall health.

For more information, contact the Midwestern University Dental Institute in Illinois at 630.743.4500 or in Arizona at 623.537.6000.

The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not for use in diagnosing any condition. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment and does not establish a provider/patient relationship. Always consult your own physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions regarding any possible medical condition.

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