Facts About Tobacco and Oral Health

Most people already know that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death, disease, and disability in the US. Smoking can also cause chronic disease in children exposed to second-hand smoke. Nearly 9 million people suffer from serious diseases caused by tobacco, while 443,000 people die every year from the effects of smoking.

But did you know?

  • Tobacco use is the #1 contributing factor for gum disease (periodontitis)!
  • Toxins from tobacco cause oral tissues to undergo changes that lead to deeper periodontal pockets around teeth, slow the healing process after dental cleanings, and cause early tooth loss in adults.
  • Tobacco is a major cause of oral, esophageal, stomach and lung cancers. Oral cancer only has a 53% five-year survival rate, and its treatment can include disfiguring surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments.
  • There are many over the counter and prescription products to help you quit. Many programs are available to support your efforts.
  • You can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or log on to the American Lung Association's website at www.lungusa.org for information on quitting smoking.

Ask your dentist or medical provider to help you make a plan to quit. Include family and friends in your support network.

Depending on where you live, there are also local resources to help you kick the tobacco habit:

Maine:

New Hampshire:

Vermont:

Your medical insurance carrier or employer may also have a program to help you quit. Create a plan that works for you.

Remember, good oral health is necessary for good overall health!