Tobacco and Oral Health

Smoking is becoming less popular, but many teens still choose to use tobacco in some form. Before you decide to try a cigarette or chewing tobacco, remember that tobacco is not only harmful to your lungs. The effects of tobacco use can wreak havoc on your entire body, including your oral health. No one wants to have discolored or missing teeth!

Below Are Some Facts to Know About Tobacco Use

  • Often, tobacco companies add sugar to smokeless chewing tobacco, which can lead to increased tooth decay.
  • If you smoke, you are roughly two times more likely to lose your teeth. According to Tufts University, smokers lose 2.9 teeth every 10 years. For someone who starts smoking at age 18, that could mean a loss of 4 to 5 teeth by age 35.
  • If you smoke or dip, you are putting yourself at risk for bad breath, oral cancer and periodontal disease. Oral cancer is usually not painful in the early stages. Therefore, many people ignore them. Don’t wait to receive treatment. The longer you wait, the more you will need extensive surgery or worse; you can lose your life.

Warning Signs Include

  1. Ongoing sore throat
  2. Leathery red or white patches on the lips and on or underneath the tongue
  3. Pain, sensitivity, or numb areas in the mouth or lips
  4. Trouble chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
  5. Changes in tooth alignment