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Tobacco Use & Your Oral Health

Refusing Tobacco CigarettesDoes Smoking & Using Tobacco Cause Oral Problems?

Learn about the adverse effects.

You probably know that smoking cigarettes and using tobacco is detrimental to your health. But the problems are not limited to lung disease and secondhand smoke. On the contrary, the use of this harmful carcinogen can also have adverse effects on your oral health.

Nicotine, the psychoactive ingredient in tobacco, is highly addictive. Though much progress has been made in educating the public on the dangers, millions still become addicted each year. If you smoke cigars, cigarettes, or use smokeless chewing tobacco, the best thing you can do for your oral health is to quit.

What is the harm?

The mouth is a unique environment with many sensitive tissues and glands. Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco can damage saliva production, thereby contributing to dry mouth (xerostomia). In turn, the lack of saliva leads to increased rates of cavities, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.

With long term use, the risk for developing harmful oral cancer also becomes more likely. Oral cancer is one of the more common varieties, with over 50,000 new cases in the US every year. Early detection is the most critical factor that determines treatment outcomes. Symptoms may include unusual lumps that develop in the mouth or white or red patches that do not heal.

When visiting the dentist, be sure to mention that you use tobacco, and we can provide an oral cancer screening.

If you use tobacco, quitting is the best thing you can do for your oral health. Numerous quitting aids are available, such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and prescription medications.

About Dr. William J. Black

William Black earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 1988. He then went on to the UCLA School of Dentistry where he graduated in 1992. Following dental school, Dr. Black served in the U.S. Navy for 3 years as a dentist. He then settled in the Sacramento area where he opened his practice in 1996. Dr. Black is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), California Dental Association (CDA), Sacramento District Dental Society (SDDS), Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), and the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). He is currently pursuing Mastership with the Academy of General Dentistry and accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Black has 8 children, works actively with the Boy Scouts of America, and enjoys gardening.

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