We have always heard how smoking, either through cigarettes or tobacco products is pretty bad for our health. But what exactly does it do to us? More specifically, what makes it so bad for our teeth and how can we improve the situation?
In today’s article we will be talking about that. We have asked some general tips from our Los Algodones dentists so you can look up forward for that!
What is exactly a tobacco product?
Tobacco is the end result of a process that takes the leaves of a plant called Nicotiana. All of the plants from this genus contain and harbor the drug nicotine, known to be addictive through repeated use. These leaves are usually wrapped in thin paper and smoked commonly. Of course, it has many presentations which we will get to now.
Different types and presentations
As to have a clearer idea of what this entail, we are talking about many different types of this product.
Out there in the markets there is not only tobacco as we know it, but also cigarettes, chewing tobacco, loose leaves, cigars and many, many more.
All of these contain varying amounts of nicotine, which is an addictive substance closely related to all types of cancer. For this reason it is best to avoid as not only does it affect health, but also bring many issues to the table, not only tooth related.
Problems that arise from using tobacco products
There are many downsides that stem from using tobacco products. Many of them relating to your overall health rather than your teeth. To name a few we have:
- Cancer. From smoking and chewing these products there is a high possibility to develop oral cancer and other forms of it.
- Gum disease. Gum disease is the general term for periodontal disease, which makes gums recede and affects the bone.
- Bad breath. A lingering foul odor sticks and remains in the mouth for smokers.
- Tooth staining. The fumes that come from its use are known to stick, which our tooth enamel absorbes.
- Dims taste and smell senses. Through time, a smoker’s sense of taste and smell will diminish.
Is smokeless tobacco healthier than smoking?
This is a common question we get here in Los Algodones, and the truth is that both are as harmful.
Both of them have bad perks such as bad breath and a good deal of chemicals that promotes cancer. Smokeless tobacco is not to be taken lightly as it contains an even higher concentration of nicotine than normal cigarettes. Furthermore, it not only irritates the soft tissue in your mouth, it also makes tooth decay far easier to develop as its smokeless version tends to be mixed with sugars.
How to kick the habit?
Best approach to kick the tobacco habit is to be serious about it. It is important to have the support of people important to you to help you during the ride! A dentist or physician will also be able to help you in different ways to deal with the cravings.
The best thing to do is to keep your mind busy without overworking yourself. That is, finding hobbies and activities that helps you feel overall relaxed. Trying new things is never a bad thing to do!
One more thing to help kicking the habit is to join a support group. There are countless classes that are offered by hospitals or even the community itself. Asking a dentist or physician if they know of any will broadly help, too.
Tips for keeping your oral habits on point
- Brush your teeth twice or more times a day. This will not only help you keep your teeth clean but also help against bad breath.
- Floss once a day. This helps getting rid of bacteria and substances from between the teeth.
- Drink plenty of water. Not only helps against dry mouth, but also increases saliva production.
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year. This is even more important for smokers, as gum disease can be really difficult to pinpoint.