Smoking may have a profound effect on the oral tissues and periodontal health. As health care professionals, it is our responsibility to advise our patients of the harmful effects of tobacco and urge them to quit.
Suspicious tissue in the mouth that appears pre-cancerous or malignant is always a priority in oral examinations. A suspect lesion (sore) on the oral soft or hard tissue is of greater concern when it comes to smokers. The diagnostician would consider it dangerous until demonstrated otherwise. Oral cancer may be aggressive and quickly metastasize, and can be fatal if not detected early.
Exacerbation of tooth decay and periodontal disease, unsightly stains and offensive breath are characteristic of tobacco usage. The senses of smell and taste are adversely affected. Tobacco and its byproducts have a direct, profound effect on oral tissue, keeping it in a constant state of inflammation. The effects of cigarette and cigar smoke or smokeless tobacco is tantamount to keeping gasoline drenched rags in an area of potential fire. It is a preventable tragedy inviting disaster.
Oral surgery and periodontal surgery procedures will result in slower healing on a smoker - an important consideration in dental treatment planning. This has been clearly demonstrated on clinical and physiological levels. Higher mortality rates have long been established in smokers and those who use smokeless tobacco.
Consideration of appropriate cosmetic dental treatment plans and the predictability of their success depend upon a history of tobacco usage. Diets, eating disorders and even excessive gum chewing often exhibit an interplay with tobacco habits. These factors may have an influence on dental health and may impact issues such as tooth erosion caused by bulimia, or premature wear of the biting surfaces due to grinding or gnashing of the teeth (bruxism). The substitution of oral habits and addictions for one another is not uncommon.
The good news is that the cessation of smoking provides immediate, interim and long term health benefits. The best time to quit is right now.
And finally, the issue of patient tobacco usage is of paramount concern to dentists because they care about your health!
Want a great dentist who can help you with all of your dental needs? Call us at 1-866-970-0441 today.