Teenage tobacco use can lead to gum disease. Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause a multitude of health hazards. There have been numerous research studies that have proven that smoking tobacco can lead to heart and lung disease along with gum disease. Chewing tobacco or smokeless tobacco (snuff) contains at least 28 chemicals that have been shown to increase the risk of oral cancer and cancer of the throat and esophagus. In fact, chewing tobacco contains higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes, making it harder to quit than cigarettes. One can of snuff delivers more nicotine than over 60 cigarettes. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. When a smoker lights a cigarette and inhales, these toxins are drawn into the lungs. From there, they enter the bloodstream, which delivers them to every cell throughout the body. Smoking also reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the gingival (gum) tissue.
Periodontal diseases, which include gingivitis and periodontitis, are severe infections. If these infections are left untreated, they can lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gum tissue, bone, and attachment fibers that support the teeth and hold them in place in the jawbone. It occurs when plaque (a soft, sticky, colorless film of bacteria) forms on the teeth and at the gum line and infects the gum tissue, causing gingivitis (inflammation and reddening of the gums). If periodontal disease is not treated with professional prophylaxis (teeth cleaning) and, in some cases, surgery, it can lead to moderate-to-advanced periodontitis and further destruction of the bone and gum tissue. Tooth loss may occur and teeth may have to be removed.
Oral Problems Associated with Smoking or Chewing Tobacco
Smoking and chewing tobacco causes bad breath, oral cancer and periodontal disease. Because the early signs of oral cancer usually are not painful, people often ignore them. Smoking and other tobacco products can lead to gum disease by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. More specifically, it appears that smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells. This interference also seems to impair blood flow to the gums – which may affect wound healing. Other signs to look for include the following:
- Bleeding gums during brushing
- Bad breath Red, swollen, or tender gums
- An increased buildup of plaque or tarter on the teeth
- Tooth discoloration/ stained teeth
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Loss of bone within the jaw
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, please call our office for a complete periodontal evaluation to determine if you have periodontal disease. Consider how important it is to stop smoking or stop using smokeless tobacco in order to prevent periodontal disease, as well as other diseases associated with tobacco use.
Stop Using Tobacco
Did you know that if you start smoking at age 18 and smoke one pack per day, you could lose between 4 and 5 teeth by the time you are 35 years old? But, regardless of how long you have used tobacco products, quitting now can greatly reduce serious risks to your health. Studies have shown that former smokers who have not used a tobacco product for 11 years, the chances of having periodontal (gum) disease we not significantly different from people who never smoked.