Do you smoke? If you don't, you probably know some friends or see other
students at school who do. Too many young people today are getting addicted
to tobacco, and the results are showing up in their mouths.
Smoking or using smokeless "chewing" tobacco can make you four times more
likely of developing oral cancer (especially on the rise in women as more
younger girls take up smoking) - and it's not just something that older adults
On top of cancer, tobacco causes:
decreased senses of taste and smell
poor healing of mouth sores hairy tongue leukoplakia
Young people who think that smokeless "chewing" tobacco is somehow safer than
lighting up are putting themselves at terrible risk of illness. Chewing
tobacco releases a variety of chemicals into the body and often causes mouth
sores, cracked and bleeding lips and gums, and can lead to cancer of the throat,
mouth and gums.
How does Tobacco
affect oral health?
Tobacco contains many substances known to be cytotoxic (destructive to your
body's cells and tissues). Smokers have more calculus (hardened dental plaque)
than nonsmokers, and heavy smokers have more calculus than light smokers. The
Nicotine in tobacco causes something called vasoconstriction (narrowing the
blood vessels). Blood circulation - certainly an important thing! - has been
shown to decrease by as much as 70% in your mouth during the smoking of a cigarette.
Tobacco smoking, furthermore, also affects your body's immune responses (defense
New studies are even showing the possibility that second-hand tobacco smoke
(the smoke from someone else's cigarette) causes periodontal disease (gum
Sugar? In tobacco?
We all know that sugar is a major cause of tooth decay. More than one-fifth
of the content of some brands of smokeless "chewing" tobacco is sugar,
and causes a much greater risk of developing cavities.
This section of Healthy Teeth
produced with the sponsorship assistance
the Canadian Dental Association.