ORANGE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nearly 40 million people in the U.S. smoke and 4.7 million middle and high school students use a tobacco product including e-cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
No matter how you look at it – whether you smoke, chew tobacco, or vape e-cigarettes – the use of tobacco products can cause serious health problems, including extreme damage to the health of your gums and teeth.
Before you light up that cigarette, vape or chew tobacco, Western Dental & Orthodontics urges people to consider the damage it can have to your teeth and overall oral hygiene:
- Cancer. Tobacco use is linked to many types of cancers, including mouth, throat, esophagus, cheek, gum, lip and tongue cancer. Chemicals in e-cigarette vapors cause changes in the genetic make up of cells in the mouth, causing sustained inflammation and, long term, can trigger the development of cancer
- Cavities. Chewing tobacco is loaded with sugar, which can erode your tooth enamel
- Gum disease. Tobacco's sugars and irritants can cause gum infections. Over time, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Signs include red swollen gums, sensitive teeth, loose teeth, tooth loss
- Precancerous mouth lesions. Chewing tobacco can cause lesions where the chew is placed and can become cancerous
- Longer healing time. Smoking and chewing tobacco will hinder the healing process following oral surgery
“Western Dental cautions all its patients about the dangers of smoking and the use of tobacco products,” said Dr. John Luther, Chief Dental Officer at Western Dental. “Smoking causes gum disease to progress faster, leading to the loss of teeth.”
Smokers and tobacco users have twice the risk for gum disease compared to a non-smoker. While some think vaping is safer, it can also cause tooth decay, gum inflammation, and excessive bacteria in your mouth.
If you are a smoker and trying to quit, Western Dental recommends the following to avoid gum disease:
- Brush your teeth. Although this is important for everyone's dental health, teeth brushing is especially important for people who smoke. An ADA-approved toothpaste is best
- Rinse with an anti-tar mouthwash. Anti-tar mouthwashes will help dissolve and remove stubborn tobacco tar stains
- Floss daily. You’ll help to minimize plaque where bacteria thrive
- Visit your dentist regularly. A dentist can help keep any problems in check and prevent more serious issues
ABOUT WESTERN DENTAL
Western Dental (with its affiliates, including Brident Dental & Orthodontics, Access Dental, Blue Hills Dental, South Texas Dental and Vital Smiles) is one of the nation’s largest dental providers and is the leader in accessible, affordable oral healthcare, serving approximately 2.9 million patient visits annually in 317 affiliated offices throughout California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Alabama. In addition to general dentistry, Western Dental offers orthodontics, oral surgery, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and endodontics in its offices, creating a convenient full service “Dental Home.”
In California, Western Dental is the leading provider of services to both adults and children in the Denti-Cal program – part of the Medi-Cal public insurance program that provides health care benefits for more than 13 million low-income individuals and families. Western Dental dentists provided care to more than a half-million Denti-Cal beneficiaries in 2017 and is committed to continuing to partner with the State to improve the program. In Texas, Western Dental is the leading provider of Medicaid services and recently entered into a first-of-its-kind agreement to participate in a value-based care and payment model under the state’s Medicaid program.
All of Western Dental’s services are backed by a unique quality assurance system that electronically monitors all patient visits, treatments, dental staff and clinical performance to enable high-quality care. To learn more about Western Dental or inquire about an office in your community, visit www.westerndental.com or call 1-800-6-DENTAL.