A terribly harmful
oral habit is the use of tobacco. Here are some oral problems that
may occur with the use of tobacco.
Oral Side Effects of
- sticky tar deposits
or brown staining on the teeth
- 'smoker's palate'
- red inflammation on the roof of the mouth
- delayed healing
of the gums
- increased severity
of gum disease
- gum recession -
with chewing tobacco at the site of the tobacco wad, the gums react
by receding along the tooth root, exposing the root
Hazards of Tobacco
One of the most devastating
effects of tobacco is the development of oral cancer. Approximately
75% of all oral cancers in North America are associated with tobacco
use and alcohol consumption. The risk of oral cancer increases with
the number of cigarettes smoked each day and the number of years that
the person has been smoking. Cigarettes are not the only oral habit
that can cause oral cancer, all tobacco products, such as; smokeless/spit
tobacco, cigars, and pipes are associated with oral cancer. The type
of tobacco product will also dictate where the oral cancer can be
located in the mouth. For instance, smokeless tobacco is linked to
cancer of the cheek and gums.
Benefits of Quitting
The most significant
preventive measure used to prevent oral cancer is cessation of tobacco
products. When a person stops using tobacco, the risk of developing
oral cancer drops rapidly. In 10 years of tobacco use cessation, the
risk is similar to an individual who has never smoked. Oral cancer
can be prevented by choosing to be a non-tobacco user.
Quitting tobacco use
is very difficult, since it is an addiction. There can be temporary
withdrawal symptoms that occur a short period after your last tobacco
A few "quitting" aids
have been found to help users. These aids decrease withdrawal symptoms
and the craving for tobacco. Some examples are:
All of these aids are
beneficial if the individual is motivated to quite, and if used at the
same time with counseling or self-help groups. Your dental office may
offer a tobacco use cessation program as more and more dental offices
are becoming involved in such programming. Other program sources may
be medical and nursing associations, heart and lung associations, or
even a community center.
Detection of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can be
detected in the early stages. Some signs and symptoms of oral cancer
- swelling, lump,
growth, or hardness in the mouth or neck. These lumps are usually
- red or white patches
in the mouth
- repeated bleeding
from the mouth or throat
- difficulty in chewing
Any sore that does
not heal after 2 weeks should be checked out by Dr Talcott or your
Visiting your dental
professional regularly is a way to help diagnose or detect oral cancer.
Dental hygienist and dentists are trained to detect abnormalities.
If there are any abnormal tissue changes, the dentist or oral pathologist
can take a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis. Most lesions are not cancer,
but it is best to be safe if anything looks unusual.
Remember, if the lesion
or sore does not heal after 2 weeks, contact thisa office and make
an appointment without further delay! Early detection of cancer increases
the chance of successful treatment.