The World Health Organization (WHO) has dedicated May 31, 2014 as World No Tobacco Day to raise awareness regarding the effects of tobacco.
What exactly is Tobacco?
Tobacco is a green, leafy plant that is grown in warm climates. After the plant is picked and dried up, it can be smoked, chewed (called smokeless tobacco or chewing tobacco) or sniffed through the nose (called snuff).
Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds and 400 other toxins. These cigarette ingredients include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT. Nicotine is one of the more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes and its smoke. It is the chemical that makes tobacco addictive, therefore making it a drug.
Tobacco use can cause multiple oral health problems:
- Oral cancer
- Dry mouth
- Bad breath
- Stained teeth
- Bone loss
- Receding gums
- Mouth sores
- Decreased sense of taste and smell
- Poor healing of mouth sores
- Hairy tongue
The recent U.S. Surgeon General’s report on tobacco also found that current evidence is adequate to infer a causal relationship between maternal smoking in early pregnancy and orofacial clefts, as well as a causal relationship between cigarette smoking and dental caries and the failure of dental implants.
Nearly 6 million people die of tobacco-related illnesses each year. Greater than 5 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use, and more than 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. In adults, second-hand smoke causes serious cardiovascular, respiratory, and oral diseases, including coronary heart disease, lung cancer, oral cancer and cavities. In infants it can cause sudden death. In pregnant women it causes low birth weight, asthma and more. More than 600,000 premature deaths per year are caused by second-hand smoke. And sadly, almost half of all children regularly breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke in public places.
Clearly, tobacco is a very dangerous drug, not only for the user but for those around you. If you or someone you know is a tobacco user, it’s time to quit! Here a few free resources to help:
To find a Smile Generation-trusted dental office near you, visit SmileGeneration.com.