Michael L. Bleeker, DMD
Tobacco use is one of the main causes of oral cancer. Aside from being a sociably undesirable habit, smoking can result in reduced smelling and tasting abilities, compromise recovery after oral surgery, stain the teeth, and increase the risk of contracting periodontal disease. As health care providers we encourage you to abstain from all forms of tobacco use.
Almost all adult smokers have tried smoking before the age of nineteen. In all likelihood, an individual who abstains from smoking throughout the teenage years will never pick up the habit. Therefore, it is essential that parents strongly discourage preadolescent and adolescent tobacco use.
Is smokeless tobacco less dangerous for teens?
Tobacco use in any form brings the oral region into direct contact with cancer causing agents. These carcinogens and other harmful chemicals cause irreparable damage to your oral health.
Parents and teens often mistakenly evaluate smokeless tobacco as the “safer” option. In fact, smokeless tobacco has been proven to deliver a greater concentration of harmful agents into the body, and to be far more addictive. One snuff of smokeless tobacco has approximately the same nicotine content as sixty regular cigarettes. In addition, smokeless tobacco causes leukoplakia in the mouth, which are pre-cancerous lesions.
What are the signs of oral cancer?
Oral cancer can be difficult to detect without an oral cancer examination performed by a health care provider. In some cases, oral cancer is not noticeable or even painful until its later stages. Tobacco users must be aware of the following symptoms:
Changes in the way the teeth fit together.
Difficulty moving the jaw.
Mouth sores that don’t heal.
Numbness or tenderness.
Red or white spots on the cheek, lip, or tongue.
Bad taste or smell
Oral cancer is treatable if caught early. Disfiguring surgery can be avoided by abstaining from tobacco use and getting regular preventative dental checkups.
Are you ready to quit smoking?
Ask Dr. Bleeker about modern methods to help stop smoking. Quitting smoking will be the greatest thing you can do to improve your overall health. Make the commitment to your health today. You can do it!