Chewing Tobacco and Gum Health
Chewing tobacco is notorious for its tendency to stain teeth and cause tooth decay, but its damaging effects on gum health are unfortunately discussed less often. This habit can contribute to short-term problems, as well as long-term diseases involving the gums. Here is a closer look at how gum health is impacted by oral tobacco use.
Oral tobacco can cause or contribute to gum disease in multiple ways. In many cases, chewing tobacco is coated with sugar that feeds the harmful oral bacteria in the mouth. Chronically chewing tobacco also results in dry mouth whenever tobacco is not present, preventing the gums from receiving the antimicrobial effects of saliva.
Nicotine, the key constituent of tobacco, reduces blood flow, and therefore it inhibits healing. This means that after invasive dental procedures, chewing tobacco will raise risks of infections and other complications. Oral tobacco use may also prevent candidacy for necessary treatment.
The curing process used to make chewing tobacco creates numerous carcinogens, where long-term use of the product can result in oral cancer. Early detection of oral cancer can reduce the risk of death by allowing for cancer treatment, but disfigurement and debility are still likely to occur.
Prevention is preferable to treatment for dental problems, so avoiding chewing tobacco is the best option for healthy gums. By avoiding this habit, patients can also count on having a better-looking smile and fresher breath. Patients can schedule a consultation with our periodontist in Northridge to learn more about how chewing tobacco can harm the gums.
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