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- Tips for Parents
- Gum Disease and Your Health
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Oral problems may occur with the use of tobacco. These may include:
- sticky tar deposits or brown staining on the teeth
- ‘smoker’s palate’ – red inflammation on the roof of the mouth
- delayed healing of the gums
- increased severity of gum disease
- bad breath or halitosis
- black hairy tongue
- sores or lesions in the mouth
- tooth loss
- gum recession
- increased risk of oral cancer
Hazards of Tobacco Use
One of the worst effects of tobacco use is oral (mouth) cancer. Approximately 75% of all oral cancers in North America are associated with tobacco use and alcohol consumption. The risk of oral cancer increases with the number of cigarettes smoked each day and the number of years a person has been smoking.
All tobacco products, including smokeless or spit tobacco, cigars, and pipes are associated with oral cancer.
Benefits of Tobacco Cessation
Oral cancer can be prevented by choosing to be a non-tobacco user. Ten years after stopping use, your risk is similar to that of a person who has never smoked.
Because tobacco is addictive, it can be difficult to quit. There may be temporary withdrawal symptoms, which may be decreased by using one of the following aids:
- the nicotine patch
- nicotine gum
- nicotine inhaler
- nicotine nasal spray
Some people may also benefit from participating in counselling or self-help groups. Some dental offices now offer tobacco cessation programs. Other program sources may be medical and nursing associations, heart and lung associations, or community centers.