How Tobacco Dents Your Smile
The epidemic of tobacco use is one of the greatest threats to global health. Sadly, the future looks worse, as smoking has become very common and fashionable. The most common reasons as to why people take to smoking are:
• Cultural reasons
• Peer pressure
Cigarettes, pipes and hookabs are the most popular methods of smoking and hence also the most injurious smoking elements for health. The negative impact of tobacco is not just due to smoking, but use of smokeless tobacco is also injurious to health.
Pan or betel quid consists of tobacco, areca nuts and slaked lime wrappbd in a betel leaf. It can also contain other sweeteners and flavouring agents. Pan Masala is the dried ingredient of a pan. Moist snuff is taken orally while dry snuff is powdered tobacco that is mostly inhaled through the nose.
Tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses including:
• Cardiopulmonary diseases
• Low birth weight
While most people are aware of the impact tobacco use has on their overall health, it is also linked to a detrimental impact on oral health, such as:
• 50 per cent of smoking adults have gum (periodontal) disease.
• Smokers are about twice as likely to lose their teeth as non-smokers.
• Cigarette smokers are nearly twice as likely to need root canal treatment.
• Smoking leads to reduced effectiveness of treatment for gum disease.
Smoking increases risk of mouth pain, cavities and gum recession (which can lead to tooth loss).
Tobacco reduces the body’s ability to fight infection, including in the mouth and gums. Smoking also limits the growth of blood vessels, slowing the healing of gum tissue after oral surgery or from injury.
Smokeless tobacco (snuff or chewing tobacco) is associated with cancers of the cheeks, gums and lining of the lips. Users of smokeless tobacco are 50 times more likely to develop these cancers than non- users.
Cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff and unprocessed tobacco leaves (used as cigar wrappers)contain tiny particles that are abrasive to teeth. When mixed with saliva and chewed, an abrasive paste is created that wears down teeth over time.
How does tobacco affect oral health?
Tobacco can be consumed through the mouth in a variety of forms, which may induce a variety of oral manifestations of diseases. These lesions most likely result from the many irritants, toxins, and carcinogens found in the smoke emitted from burning tobacco, but they may also arise from drying of the mucosa by the high intra-oral temperature, ph change, alteration in immune response, or altered resistance to fungal or viral infections.
Other effects include:
• Staining of teeth
• Decreased ability to taste and smell
• Nicotinic stomatitis and keratosis
• Oral precancerous lesions:
Leukoplakia, Erythroplakia, Smokeless tobacco keratosis
• Oral cancers: Squamous cell
carcinomas, Verrucous carcinoma
• Gingival and alveolar bone damage
• Delayed alveolar wound healing
• Gingival recession
• Periodontal pocket
• Root caries
Most of these problems are reversible after cessation of tobacco use.
Adverse effects of tobacco on periodontal health
Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for the development of periodontal diseases. Disease severity increases with frequency of smoking. Dental calculus gets accumulated more markedly among smokers than nonsmokers, and the quantity of calculus is correlated with the frequency of smoking. The adverse effects of smoking on the periodontium correlate well with both the quantity of daily consumption and the duration.
• Deeper periodontal pockets.
• Increased alveolar bone loss.
• Increased tooth mobility than nonsmokers.
• More tooth loss than non-smokers. Tooth loss reduces oral chewing function and quality of life and leads to subsequent demand for tooth replacement, such as dentures or implant supported prostheses.
• Emotional stress and poor oral hygiene seem to play an important interactive role with tobacco smoking.
• Smoking addiction is directly related to dental implant failure. Tobacco use may directly compromise the osseointegration of root-form dental implants.