Dentistry & Tobacco Use

Why is your dentist interested in your tobacco use?

Cigarette smokes contains about 400 different chemicals which can damage the cells of the human body. The chemicals along with the highly addictive nicotine can include arsenic, cyanide and carbon monoxide.

Tobacco use is a common risk factor in a large variety of different diseases and a life time smoker has a 50% chance that their death will be smoking related.

Those living with smokers are also at risk. Worldwide 600,000 premature deaths per year are related to second hand smoke with 31% of those affected being children (2004)

Dental Health and tobacco use?

1- Tobacco smoking is a causative factor in oral cancer and pre-malignant conditions as leukoplakia.

2- There is strong evidence of association between severity of periodontal disease (a significant cause of tooth loss), including increasing the rate of progression of loss of attachment, pocket formation and bone loss and reduced success of periodontal therapy.

3- Tobacco use increases risk of infections post dental extractions or gingival surgery due to poor wound healing.

4- Tobacco smoke reduces the chances of success with dental implants.

5- Other social problems are greater tooth staining and discolouration along with halitosis and snoring.

Other Health Effects

Tobacco smoke can be a causative factor of many other conditions such as;

  • Cancers of Mouth and Oropharynx, 90% of all lung cancers, Oesphagaus, Stomach, Liver, Pancreas, Cervix uteri, Blabber, Leukaemia etc.
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Asthma, Tuberculosis, Upper and Lower respiratory infections
  • Coronary artery disease, Heart attack, Stoke, Hypertensive heart disease, Ischaemic heart disease etc.

Quitting Smoking

Many smokers would like to quit.

The first good news is that lack of success in quitting at the first attempt is not a failure as many people need more than one attempt. Also the more times you’ve tried to quit the higher the chances of success.

The second good news is that people under 35 who stop smoking successfully are expected to have a normal life expectancy.

The Third good news is that when ever you stop smoking you will benefit from it.

Boston House Dental Clinic and smoking cessation

At Boston House we would like to help all our patients to reduce or to stop harmful tobacco use.

If you would like more information on how to reduce your tobacco use, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Other useful links- NHS advice , Smoking and pregnancy

(This material is a synopsis of an article in The Dentist Vol.32No10)