In addition to cancer, using any kind of tobacco carries many other serious risks to your health.
Cancer is the most commonly known result of tobacco use, but there are many other severe health problems you should expect to encounter if you continue to use tobacco, including periodontitis (gum disease). Adult smokers are about three times as likely as non-smokers to have periodontitis. Research has shown that if all people stopped smoking today, periodontitis in the population would decrease as much as 50%. Quitting smoking is part of treating gum disease, and smokers are statistically more likely to avoid treatment of gum disease.
The relationship between smoking and cancer is straightforward. Cigarettes and tobacco smoke contain several cancer-causing compounds. About 90% of oral cancer deaths are attributable to smoking. In addition, research suggests that tobacco smoking lowers your body’s ability to stay healthy, making it harder for your body to fight off communicable diseases such as colds. In addition, smokers do not heal as well as non-smokers, which makes recovery after surgery much more difficult.
Chewing Tobacco, also called Smokeless or Spit Tobacco, is linked to oral and throat cancers. The risk of oral cancer in people who chew tobacco is four to six times as high as nonusers. Since it contains sugar and is addictive, chewing tobacco is also likely to cause tooth decay.
Cigars and Pipes
Cigar smoke contains the same cancer-causing compounds found in cigarette smoke. Research shows that cigar smokers are two to twenty two times more likely to develop oral and throat cancers than non-smokers.
A hookah is a water pipe with a smoke chamber, bowl, pipe and hose. A special blend of tobacco, sweetener and flavor is heated; the smoke is drawn through the water and then inhaled through the pipe and mouthpiece. There is a misconception that hookah smoke is a healthier option than smoking cigarettes. In reality, hookah smoke is just as dangerous as cigarette smoke. Tar, carbon monoxide, heavy metals, nicotine and other cancer-causing carcinogens are all present in hookah smoke.
Reverse Your Risk
If you stop smoking, you may actually be able to reverse the negative effects and risks that you have developed. For example, ten years after quitting, former smokers appear to be no more likely than nonsmokers to have severe loss of periodontal attachment.
Get Help Quitting
When you are ready to quit using tobacco, let your dentist know — we are here to help. You can also call your local Quit Line for free information, referrals, and one-on-one counseling for you and your family.
- Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Quit Line: (800) QUIT-NOW or (800) 784-8669
- Spanish Language Quit Line: (855) DEJELO-YA or (855) 355356-92
- Hearing Impaired Quit Line: (877) 777-6534