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General Dentistry: How Smokeless Tobacco Harms Your Teeth and Gums
Thanks to dental professionals in the field of general dentistry, patients have now become more aware of potentially harmful habits. This includes smokeless tobacco, which can damage both your teeth and gums. People who gave up smoking should feel good about their decision. However, for good oral health, they also need to think about avoiding smokeless tobacco. Here are the reasons why you should consider it.
What is smokeless tobacco?
As the name implies, this is any tobacco product that people use but do not produce smoke. Chewing tobacco is a prime example. This also includes snuff, snus and even tobacco products that dissolve. Typically, people place the tobacco between the gums and cheeks. Individuals can also chew and sniff smokeless products.
How is this a risk?
Tobacco is tobacco, regardless of the brand or form. All varieties pose a risk to the health of teeth and gums. While not dangerous, one way these products affect teeth is by causing them to turn yellow. As a result, people try not to smile due to embarrassment. Depending on the individual’s regular tobacco consumption, teeth can even turn a brownish color.
On the more serious side of things, smokeless tobacco products can lead to oral cancer, gum disease, and severe tooth decay. While these are all bad, cancer is by far the worst. For this reason, dentists do everything possible to inform patients. No cancer is good, but in particular, oral cancer ranks among the worst.
With this type of cancer, a person can experience a host of issues, including disfigurement of the face, head or neck. This also reduces the amount of saliva produced, which leads to dry mouth. For people who develop oral cancer, many suffer from depression. They also struggle to eat and speak properly.
Beyond oral cancer, using smokeless tobacco products can increase a person’s heart rate. This also puts them at risk for high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. Any of those could ultimately lead to a heart attack or stroke. As part of general dentistry education, dentists let patients know that smokeless tobacco products also increase the risk of brain damage.
Finding a way to quit
Sometimes, information passed on from a general dentist is enough to make people quit. If not, individuals who use smokeless tobacco should speak with a medical physician. With so many risks to teeth and gums, as well as overall health, it is not worth it to continue. Fortunately, there are some viable options to make quitting easier.
The value of general dentistry
Along with having a cavity filled or a tooth extracted, a general dentist offers a wealth of information about oral health. If you currently use smokeless tobacco products, start by talking to your dentist. During the consultation, the two of you can come up with a plan on how to stop. Protect your mouth and health by making the right choices.
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