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Keep tobacco out of your mouth!

Keep tobacco out of your mouth!

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Fri May 9, 2014

by DR BETTE JEAN-BAPTISTE ADAMS, DDS (SVG MEDICAL ASSOCIATION – 2014)

The use of tobacco is a risk factor for so many diseases, and so it should be no surprise that it adversely affects the buccal cavity, (mouth) the site where the act of smoking or chewing of this substance occurs.{{more}}

Saliva helps to keep the surface of the teeth clean. Tobacco smoking decreases saliva production and or saliva flow, and so smokers have a high chance of developing tooth decay, as the natural self-cleansing of the mouth, which occurs with normal production of saliva would also decrease.

The products of tobacco combustion and tar cause a dark discoloration that not only affects the appearance, but produces a rough surface on teeth enamel, that promotes plaque, accumulation and calculus (tartar). This increase in plaque, along with a decrease in salivary flow, will result in acidic products decreasing the pH of the mouth, leaning towards demineralization of the enamel, yielding caries.

Halitosis or bad breath is another thing brought on by smoking. There is a certain concentration of sulphur in cigarettes. The higher the concentration of the sulphur in the tobacco, the stronger the halitosis.

Tobacco smoking is one of the strongest behavioural associations to periodontal diseases (diseases affecting the gums and bone structure of the mouth). The risk of bone loss around the teeth is seven times higher in smokers than non-smokers. Cigarette smokers have an impairment of the normal response to fighting off infection, and this leads to the destruction of healthy periodontal tissues adjacent to any affected area in the mouth.

Perhaps the most known long-term effect of cigarette smoking is oral (mouth) cancer. This type of cancer usually stems from precancerous lesions on the oral mucosa, such as a white leukoplakia (plaque) or more commonly a red erythroplakia, from the constant heat and chemicals altering the cells of the oral mucosa. These two

lesions are usually induced by the use of tobacco alone or in combination with alcohol. Tobacco contains carcinogenic (cancer causing) substances. The most dangerous carcinogens are found in the tars of tobacco smoke.

To put it to you bluntly – cigarettes are bent on making you lose teeth. There is always a link with rotting of the teeth or them getting loose and you losing them all together. If you still don’t learn from that – tobacco cuts your life short. Is smoking really worth it?

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