When it comes to tobacco use, the negative health effects are well-documented. Using tobacco (in any form) does not just affect an individual’s pulmonary and cardiovascular systems — it affects their oral health.
Smoking, vaping, dipping, and other forms of tobacco don’t just lead to cosmetic oral issues like yellowing teeth or receding gums. In fact, tobacco use is directly linked to much more serious oral diseases and cancers.
At Estrella Dental, our general dentist office in San Diego, one of our primary goals is to educate our patients about proper oral health. As such, we hope this article will provide helpful information not just on the effect of tobacco and oral health, but also on smoking cessation strategies.
If you are worried about your dental health because of tobacco use, schedule an appointment today with our general dentist in San Diego.
Tobacco and Dental Health Facts
According to the American Dental Association (ADA) and its “Smoking and Tobacco Cessation” oral health pamphlet, tobacco use in all forms is directly linked to oral diseases and cancers.
Specifically, tobacco use is linked to the following dental issues:
- Various oral cancers
- Tooth discoloration
- Inflamed salivary gland openings
- Increased buildup of plaque and tartar
- Increased bone loss within jaw
- Presence of leukoplakia (white spots in the mouth)
- Gum disease and gingivitis
- Delayed healing after dental procedures and surgeries
In general, tobacco can cause these harmful oral health issues because of the way it manipulates gum tissue cells. Gums are incredibly important to the oral ecosystem, as they protect teeth, nerves, and the jaw. Tobacco interferes with gum tissue functionality, leading to impaired blood flow and a greater chance for periodontal (gum) diseases.
It’s worth mentioning again that all tobacco use has been linked to oral health concerns, including:
- Tobacco smoke
- Pipe smoking
- Cigar smoking
Deciding to quit smoking and going through with it is no easy feat, but your local dentist can be your ally.
How Dentists Can Help With Smoking Cessation
It might seem like general dentists only perform routine teeth cleanings, X-rays, and fill cavities if necessary. The thing about a good general dentist is that they can function as a general doctor for you. While a dentist still won’t treat your flu symptoms, they can be a great resource for general health issues such as smoking cessation.
Indeed, general dentists are trained in recognizing tobacco-related oral health issues and providing proper resources for smoking cessation.
When it comes to tobacco use, a good general dentist should:
- Ask: ask every patient whether they use tobacco and document the answer
- Advise: encourage every tobacco user to quit, while maintaining an understanding and firm demeanor
- Assess: determine whether the tobacco user is open to quitting
- Assist: if a patient states that they want to quit, a general dentist can offer resources and even pharmacotherapy
- Arrange: set up follow-up appointments within the first week after the smoking cessation date
While smoking cessation is ultimately a different process for everyone, it’s important to know that a good general dentist can support this decision.
The Importance Of Regularly Scheduled Dental Visits
It’s imperative for every single person to see the dentist regularly. To learn more about the guidelines of regular dental appointments, check out our “Why Regular Dental Check Ups Are Important” and “How Often Should You Be Going To The Dentist” resources.
For individuals who use tobacco, it’s doubly important to schedule routine dental appointments. Even if that person isn’t yet in a place to quit smoking, taking care of oral health is still great preventation.
In addition to performing teeth cleanings, a general dentist will perform an oral exam, take x-rays if necessary, and generally get a sense of any serious oral issues. It’s far better to treat any condition early, as smoking will exacerbate the problem.
Our General Dentist In San Diego
If you’re looking for a general dentist that understands the needs of its patients, look no further than Estrella Dental in San Diego. Our family dental office prides itself on helping all members of the community, no matter their background nor how long it’s been since their last appointment.
Whether you smoke and going to the dentist is a stressful process or you just want a dental office that will support you, Estrella Dental is a great choice.
Contact our dental office today to make an appointment!