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The Effects of Smoking/Tobacco and Your Mouth

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Dr. Cobble here,

As a longtime Tulsa family dentist, I’m always looking for new ways to teach my patients about the importance of a healthy smile and health oral health habits.

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed an interesting trend in anti-smoking ads. We have all seen the powerful ads about how smoking can cause lung cancer. Or those touching ads that include interviews with the spouses of those who were claimed by smoking. The latest smoking ads are taking a different approach: focusing on your oral health.

Many of these anti-smoking ads focus on oral health are produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can read more about those here. According to the CDC, the ads have encouraged hundreds of thousands of smokers to stop since first airing in 2012. These TV ads are shocking and often filled with extremely graphic images. Two ads that resonated with me dealt with dentistry. In one ad, a man pulls out his false teeth. In another ad, a young man buys a pack of cigarettes and pulls out a tooth when the clerk tells him what he paid was “not enough.”

These ads are jarring and aim to get you to think twice about smoking or using tobacco. Today I want to provide a few more facts about what smoking or tobacco can do to your smile.

Smoking increases the risk of gum disease

Gum disease is the number one cause of missing teeth. It’s not dental decay or trauma, but rather gum disease. The problem with gum disease is that infection that causes the problem can spread around the mouth rather quickly. The disease starts in the gums but can make its way to the bone and cause teeth to fail if not treated.

Studies show that smokers are three times more likely to get gum disease than nonsmokers. Smokers also tend to have deeper periodontal pockets than nonsmokers, and to make things even worse, tobacco use can make it harder for your body to heal.

Smoking/Tobacco use is linked to oral cancer

Most of us know about how smoking can increase the risk of lung cancer. But that’s not the only cancer associated with tobacco use. Studies show us that about 80 percent of people with oral cancers use tobacco. Oral cancer is one of the most treatable cancers, if it’s caught early. But the five-year survival rate of oral cancer is only about 50 percent. At Masterpiece Smiles, we can conduct a thorough examination of your teeth, gums, and oral cavities. We are trained to identify any problem areas in the mouth. If you come to us and happen to be a smoker, let us know. We’re not here to lecture you, but we believe we can help set up a dental plan.

Smoking turns your teeth yellow

Most of us know that smoking can cause tooth discoloration. The nicotine and tar in cigarettes are responsible for this problem. When you smoke or use tobacco, the nicotine lingers in the mouth and turns yellow when it mixes with oxygen. At Masterpiece Smiles, we can remove tobacco stains with simple scaling during your regular dental cleanings and exams.  

Your place for comfortable, gentle care

Our office can help you manage your smile and learn more about your teeth and gums. We can even give you guidance about how to maintain a healthy smile and reduce or quit tobacco habits. You can give us a call today at 918-992-4139 or use the online form to request a visit.

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3920 E 91st St., Tulsa,OK 74137