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Tobacco and Your Oral Health


tobacco-use-austin-oral-surgery-300x300You may not be aware that tobacco use is one of the leading causes of many oral complications. People who smoke or chew tobacco are more likely to develop gum disease, tooth loss, and cancer. Though the addictive qualities of nicotine make it difficult to ditch the habit, it is imperative to your oral health that you do.

Why is tobacco harmful to my oral health?

  • Vasoconstriction. The nicotine in tobacco causes narrowing of the blood vessels, vasoconstriction, which is the main cause for countless oral problems. An inadequate amount of blood supply to the gums due to narrowed blood vessels leads to delayed healing in the mouth. Also, this lack of blood supply prevents sufficient warning signs, like bleeding of the gums, from occurring.
  • Toxicity. Tobacco use releases toxins to the body that disrupt normal gum cell function, and therefore smokers are more susceptible to oral infections like periodontal disease.
  • Plaque and Tartar. Those that smoke and chew tobacco produce more plaque and tartar buildup. As a result, tobacco users are more likely to develop gum disease and bone loss.
  • Gum irritation. Tobacco use, especially chewing tobacco, causes an inability of the gums to appropriately attach to teeth, and eventually the gums recede. Receding gums expose teeth to increased likelihood of decay or loss.
  • Cancer. Oral cancer, cancer of the throat, and cancer of the esophagus are all linked to chemicals introduced to body by tobacco use–both smoking and chewing of the drug. The cancers associated with tobacco use are often deadly.

If you would like more information on smoking and its effect on your oral health, do not hesitate to contact us. If you have sustained oral problems as a result of tobacco use, the doctors at Austin Oral Surgery will take necessary measures to improve your oral health.