Even though adult cigarette consumption declined from 20.9% in 2005 to 18.1% in 2012, an estimated 42.1 million people in the US still smoke cigarettes. And while the government is working towards dissuading young smokers, nearly 250,000 teens and young adults will become daily smokers this year. As we continue to work towards a smoke-free country, those who partake in tobacco in any form are continuing to put their health, and lives, at risk.
With every puff of smoke they inhale, smokers are at a higher risk of experiencing:
Bad breath: “Smoker’s breath” is the result of a dry mouth combined with the tar and nicotine in the tobacco that settles in oral cavities.
Stained teeth and excess tartar: Nothing can ruin a smile more than a mouthful of stained and yellow teeth with obvious evidence of tartar. Not a pretty sight!
Gum disease: Tobacco use can cause gums to dissociate from the bone, leaving tissue cells open to infection and resulting in gingivitis and other gum diseases.
Tooth decay: The rough surface of the calculus (tartar or dental plaque) that forms on a smoker’s teeth enables more plaque to stick to it. This results in cavities and subsequent loss of teeth.
Oral cancer: Smoking tobacco is possibly one of the major causes of oral cancer that affects the lips, tongue and gums. Heavy smoking coupled with alcohol consumption increases the risk of oral cancer. Oral leucoplakia (white lesions), more commonly observed in smokers, is another possible cause of oral cancer.
In addition, smokers are at a higher risk of developing the following severe side effects:
Birth defects: Mothers who smoke during pregnancy have a higher risk of bearing children who have a cleft lip or palate.
Delay in healing and susceptibility to infection: Smokers could experience delayed healing after a tooth extraction or oral surgery. Low immunity levels increase the susceptibility to oral infections.
If that’s not reason enough to kick the tobacco habit, consider this: smokers who quit extend their life by 6.5 years.