Schenectady Dentists Discuss Harmful Effects of Tobacco
Tobacco is among the most fatal habits in the world, as its effects are directly linked to many diseases that often result in death. Tragically, these type of illnesses are easily preventable simply by abstaining from tobacco in all its forms. Not only is tobacco bad for the entire body and socially offensive to many people, it can profoundly alter the oral environment for the worse. In fact, when it comes to your overall health, there is very little that tobacco does not damage in one way or another.
How Tobacco Affects the Soft Tissue of Your Mouth
When tobacco smoke comes in contact with the soft tissues inside your mouth, they are immediately exposed to harmful carcinogens. These carcinogens have the potential to produce many lesions, including oral cancer. When carcinogens interact with the DNA in the cells of oral tissues, they can start the process that leads to several varieties of cancer as well as tumors.
Tobacco use also causes dry mouth, which makes possible many dental problems. When the mouth is dry, cavities are far more likely to form, and periodontal disease is much more prevalent.
Smokeless tobacco is even worse, although many users consider it a safer alternative to cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco has direct contact with the tissue and actively damages oral mucosa every time it is in the mouth. Smokeless tobacco users are at risk for cancers of the soft tissue and tongue. Even some benign lesions may require amputation of part of the mouth or tongue.
Oral Cancer: How to Spot It
Tobacco is far and away the leading culprit in cases of oral cancer. There are many types of lumps and bumps that can form in the mouth, and each one should not automatically be assumed to be cancerous. But if you notice any of these symptoms, you may want to seek your dentist's advice:
• Sores or lesions in the mouth that don't seem to get better
• Red or white spots inside the cheek or lips
• Changes in your bite pattern
• Ulcerations on the side or beneath the tongue
If diagnosed early, oral cancer has reasonable success regarding its response to treatment. But the best way, of course, to prevent oral cancer is to abstain from using tobacco products altogether. Talk to your Schenectady dentists about ways to quit--your mouth will be much better off in the long run.