I love to help others, but like many people today, I don't have a huge bank account that allows me to make large donations to charities. I still try to donate items I can afford to the needy, and two items that are always appreciated by local food banks are toothpaste and toothbrushes. These two items can make huge differences in the lives of needy people who cannot afford them, as it helps them keep their teeth healthy now and avoid expensive dental bills in the future. Remember that giving does not have to mean donating large sums of money to charities. I created this blog to remind people that giving dental care items to the needy can be a great contribution to society that anyone can afford.
If you smoke, you may be damaging more than your lungs; you may be harming your teeth and gums. Here are four oral health problems caused by smoking:
Leukoplakia is a condition characterized by a gray or white lesion that presents on the inside of your mouth. It can appear on your tongue, gums, inner cheek or even on the floor of your mouth. The patch actually occurs in response to a chronic irritant, so you are at risk if you smoke or use chewing tobacco.
The condition can develop gradually over time and feel thick and raised. Eventually, the patch may harden and become rough to the touch. Although leukoplakia is not normally accompanied by pain, it can be sensitive to spices and heat. The lesion will usually clear up on its own if you stop smoking. However, if leukoplakia doesn't go away after you've stopped smoking, the patch can be removed via surgery.
Tobacco smoke contains over 60 different aromatic hydrocarbons, which give tobacco its characteristic odor. When you smoke, particles of the tobacco smoke remain in your lungs and throat. Pungent chemicals are also generated as tobacco burns.
In addition, smoking can cause dry mouth. Without sufficient saliva to rinse away large amounts of oral bacteria, an overgrowth of the microorganisms can occur. Anaerobic bacteria in the mouth release a sulfur smell that can cause bad breath.
People who smoke are about 5 to 10 times more likely to develop oral cancer than people who have never smoked. The risk is even greater for smokers who also drink alcohol. In addition, smokers have a greater chance of dying from oral cancer than nonsmokers, and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked daily. In 2002, about 50 percent of oral cancer deaths were caused by smoking.
Tobacco contains cancer-causing agents called carcinogens. When the tissues of the mouth are exposed to these chemicals, genetic changes occur that result in cancer development.
People who smoke are six times more apt to develop periodontal disease that affects the bone and tissue that supports the teeth.
Nicotine acts as a vaso-constrictor, which causes blood vessels to contract. Blood flow to your gums and bones is diminished, reducing your body's ability to fight oral infections. Additionally, nicotine promotes the development of thick, mucus-like saliva, which does not neutralize the acid in your mouth as effectively as watery saliva.
If you smoke, you are more likely to experience problems with your teeth and gums. Contact a dental office like Credit Creek Dental today to discuss ways that you can protect your oral health.