Tobacco and dentistry

Chewing tobacco affects your dental health as well as the rest of your body..

About 70 percent of those deaths are from oral cancer

Chewing tobacco is very addictive because it contains higher levels of addictive nicotine than cigarettes and can be harder to quit than cigarettes.

Other cancers caused by tobacco include cancer of the pancreas, nasal cavity, urinary tract, oesophagus, pharynx, larynx, intestines and the stomach

EFFECT ON DENTAL HEALTH


It causes bad breath, discolored teeth and promotes tooth decay  that leads to tooth loss.

Chewing tobacco users have a decreased sense of smell and taste.

The grit in snuff eats away at gums, exposing tooth roots  which are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures and can be painful.

. Chewing tobacco users also have a hard time getting their teeth clean.

MOUTH SORES


The most common sign of possible cancer in smokeless tobacco users is leukoplakia,

A white scaly patch or lesion inside the mouth or lips, common among many chewing tobacco users.

Red sores are also a warning sign of cancer.

Often, signs of precancerous lesions are undetectable.

If a white or red sore appears and doesn’t heal, see your dentist immediately for a test to see if it’s precancerous.

Chewing tobacco users also should see their dentist every three months, to make sure a problem doesn’t develop

.

KICKING THE HABIT

Your dentist can help you kick your chewing tobacco habit.

In addition to cleaning teeth and treating bad breath and puffy, swollen gums associated with tobacco use, your dentist may prescribe a variety of nicotine replacement therapies, such as the transdermal nicotine patch or chewing gum that helps to wean addicted snuff dippers or tobacco chewers.

The nicotine patch has a 25 percent success rate. Or you may try nicotine gum therapy on your quit day.

Make the following goals to quit and never resume chewing:

Pick a date and taper use as the date nears. Instead of using chewing tobacco, carry substitutes like gum, hard candy and sunflower seeds.

Cut back on when and where you dip and chew. Let friends and family know that you’re quitting and solicit their support. If they too chew, ask them not to do it around you.

Make a list of three situations you’re most likely to chew, and make every effort to avoid using tobacco at those times.

Switch to a lower nicotine brand to help cut down your dose.

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