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We are at the tail end of our discussion on tobacco related products and their effects on the oral cavity. Thank you for taking the time to read these entries. I have really tried to keep the subject matter of each blog simple and brief. If anyone is interested in more detail, I’m sure they can easily find more information on the internet.
In today’s blog we will briefly discuss cigars, pipe smoking and chewing (smokeless) tobacco.
Question: Are cigar and pipe smokers at less risk for oral health issues than cigarette smokers?
Answer: It’s a myth that it’s safer to partake in smoking cigars and pipes than having a cigarette.
Studies have shown that the rate of tooth and bone loss is similar to that of cigarette smokers.
Cigar and pipe smokers are also at risk of oral and throat cancers…..even if you don’t inhale.
In addition, they are also at risk of bad breath, stained teeth and periodontal (gum) disease, like cigarette smokers are.
Question: What is smokeless tobacco: aka snuff, snus and dissolvable tobacco?
Answer: The image above depicts smokeless tobacco.
Most smokeless tobacco products are placed in between the cheeks or the lips and the gum, for a few hours to enjoy.
Question: Is ‘Chewing Tobacco’ harmful for you?
Answer: Chewing tobacco is thought to be safer than smoking a cigarette. In fact, it is not. Chemicals are produced which can cause:
1) Cracked or bleeding lips and gums.
2) Cancer of the mouth, gums and throat.
3) Sores in the mouth.
The chemicals released when chewing tobacco, destroy cells in our tissues. In addition, more than 20 % of some brands of Chewing Tobacco are sugar which increases the risk of caries development.
Some Facts about Smokeless (Chewing) Tobacco
Smokeless tobacco (contains):
1) At least 28 chemicals which have been shown to increase the risk of oral, throat and esophageal cancer and heart disease.
2) Higher levels of nicotine (3-4 times more) than cigarettes, making it harder to quit than cigarettes.
3) Sand and grit which can wear teeth down.
4) Can lead to white patches called Leukoplakia ( see the previous blog – April 6th, 2015 – “The Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer ) of the gums, tongue and lining of the mouth:
Most of these ’patches’ are non-cancerous.
– Some show early signs of cancer.
– Oral cancer often occurs near these patches of Leukoplakia.
Cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, pipes and cigars can cause serious health problems because of the chemicals and toxins that they contain.
If you have any questions or concerns about how smoking cigarettes, or partaking in any of the above, affects any aspect of your oral cavity, by all means come in for a thorough dental check-up ……… I will be happy to assess your dentition and associated oral structures and answer any questions that you may have…..until the next time.
Yours in good dental health,
Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist