A family dentist is quick to point out that chewing tobacco is harmful to your teeth. Simply hearing that you need to stop a habit is not enough, though. You need to understand how it harms your teeth and gums. Then, you will realize it is time to give up tobacco for good.
When a family dentist sees a patient with yellow teeth, it is normal to wonder if that person chews tobacco. Tobacco stains the enamel over time and can also stain dental work including bridges.
Those who chew tobacco are at an increased risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria get under the gums and cause plaque and tartar to develop. Tobacco users who get gum disease do not respond well to treatment.
During a trip to the family dentist, the provider will examine the patient to look for signs of gum disease. Common signs include gums that are red, swollen or bleeding. Sensitive and loose teeth are also indicative of gum disease.
People also might report pain while chewing. In addition, receding gums point to gum disease.
Smokeless tobacco can cause oral cancer.
Signs of oral cancer include:
Dentists examine patients for signs of oral cancer during regular appointments. Those who chew tobacco should let the dentist know.
Bad breath is a serious concern for tobacco users. Tobacco has its own unpleasant smell, but that is only half the story. It also dries out the mouth, which leads to bad breath.
Saliva is tasked with removing bacteria and breaking down food. When people have enough saliva, it helps them fight cavities and infections. When they do not have enough, they often end up with bad breath.
People who suffer from gum disease often need oral surgery. Patients might need to replace a tooth that has fallen out or get a gum graft to compensate for receding gums.
Unfortunately, it is more difficult for tobacco users to recover from surgery. Tobacco users tend to heal much more slowly, so it is important to discontinue use before getting surgery.
Tooth enamel is very hard, but it is not able to stand up to tobacco. Chewing tobacco wears down the enamel, making it softer. As it softens, people are more prone to cavities. Sensitivity to hot and cold is another side effect.
Smokeless tobacco is a very dangerous product. It does much more than make your teeth yellow and give you bad breath. It can cause gum disease and oral cancer, and it makes it harder for you to heal. If you are a tobacco user, consider putting it down once and for all. Your family dentist will be very proud of you.
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