“Do not sell cigarettes to children under the age of 18” this is a popular phrase from millions of ads around the world. As a parent, I really concur with this message because I care about our kids and their well being. As a dentist though, my ideologies differ with this famous statement. If you asked me, it should read “Do not sell cigarettes to ANYONE”. Here is my justification;
We all know that tobacco is harmful. It goes without saying that the nicotine is addictive and will get you into financial trouble at some point in your life. This is a message that you have probably heard and read about a million times but have ever taken time to think about the real dangers of smoking tobacco?
In a bid to fool smokers and people who denounce smoking, cigarette manufacturing companies, came up with smokeless cigarettes and means of ingesting tobacco without necessarily lighting up the cigarette. Means such as chewing the tobacco and snuffing moist tobacco which is put between the lower lip or cheek and gum. Very many smokers thought that this was the new safe way of using without putting themselves at risk. This misconception has misled a lot of people and they are falling deeper and deeper into the menace without knowing. Today, we want to take a look at the hazards of smokeless tobacco on teeth and give you reasons why you should quit using it today.
Before we look at the hazards on teeth, it’s only noble for me as a medical practitioner to remind you of the dangers associated with tobacco on your health. Whether you like it or not, smokeless tobacco contains close to 30 carcinogenic agents. These cancer causing agents are available in tobacco whether you smoke it or chew it. This makes smokeless tobacco and tobacco at large very unsafe for human consumption. Besides Cancer, Tobacco contains nicotine which is extremely addictive. Once you are hooked to it, shaking it off from your system will be an uphill task. Even before we mention oral health, it is very clear and evident that tobacco, is not as cool as you may have thought. Back to the real deal now.
Tobacco is a hazard to your teeth and general oral health irrespective of the means used to ingest it into the system. Here are some of the most common oral complications caused by smokeless tobacco;
- Stained teeth
When you chew or snuff tobacco for long, your teeth and tongue get stained and look very unpleasant. The nicotine and tar available in the tobacco are the main causes of the staining. Within a few months of using tobacco, your teeth and tongue will be yellowish and will get brownish over time. This gives you a weird look especially if you are a fan of snuffing. The upper set might be perfectly clean while the lower set of teeth will be yellowish and unpleasant to look at. People who chew tobacco are at even a higher risk of staining ALL their teeth. If you care about looks, you might want to give that Tobacco a break.
- Oral Cancer
Chewing tobacco leaves gums, cheeks, lips and throat in constant exposure to unhealthy juices. We already saw that tobacco has close to 30 cancer causing agents within itself and oral cancer is therefore an imminent danger. In addition,this tobacco use is also strongly associated with leukoplakia which is a precancerous lesion of the soft tissue in the mouth that consists of a white patch or plaque that cannot be scraped off. This can result in cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, and oesophagus. Cancer kills!
- Gum recession
People who snuff moist tobacco are at a very high risk of suffering from gum recession. Every time you put that pinch of moist tobacco under your lips, the moist tobacco causes irritation. Thanks to the sugars and other agents available in tobacco, it damages your gums and eats into the surrounding bone. The damaged gum tissue slowly pulls away from the teeth increasing sensitivity and exposing your teeth to decay. In no time, you will end up losing your teeth as a whole.
- Tooth decay
Tobacco is rich in sugar and other agents that spearhead the decaying of teeth. When you keep chewing tobacco and remnants remain on the surface of the teeth, you risk getting severe decays which will eventually see your teeth uprooted.
A combination of unhealthy bleeding gums, decayed and stained teeth will only result in one very terrible breath. The smell might not be evident to you, but your friends and close relatives will have to bear the full brunt of your actions. You sense of taste will also be affected greatly. Foods will not taste great any more.
Smokeless tobacco is not a viable replacement to smoking cigarettes. It can cause very many health and oral complications that will affect the quality of life you lead. Vita Professional dentist simply advice you to stop using tobacco today, if you want long life.