Tobacco contributes significantly to the development and progression of periodontal issues such as gum recession and gum disease. It is also associated with oral health issues like increased pocket depths, alveolar bone, and tooth loss. According to the available literature and research, nicotine affects gingival blood flow and immune cell functions. These are all possible mechanisms responsible for the overall effects on periodontal tissues including gum damage.
Oral Health Issues
Smoking and gum disease are related, and this has been studied extensively over the past few years. Recently, we have seen a rise in smokeless tobacco products and hence, perceived as harmless. This has made many people switch from their cigarette brands as it is a more convenient and harmless alternative. However, that is not true. There might be no smoke, but it does contain nicotine, which is the central ingredient and the user experiences;
- Bad breath
- Teeth discoloration
- Decreased sense of smell and taste
- High metabolic rates
- Greater risk of developing cavities
And just like cigarettes, nicotine pouches or smokeless tobacco can lead to oral cancer and other health complications.
If you are a user, it is crucial to understand that tobacco dependence is nicotine addiction, and it may be physical, psychological, or behavioral. It takes a few tries before you quit the cold turkey successfully, but switching to alternate tobacco habits does little good!
Mouth, Gums, and Teeth Complications
Using nicotine pouches regularly increases the risk of leukoplakia in the mouth. They are grey-white patches and appear where the user places their chew, dip, or pouch. Unfortunately, these patches are irreversible. They are painless and pose no complications, but regular use may result in severe gum disease, oral cancer, or leukoplakia.
The users also experience receding gum lines, bad breath, destroyed gum tissues along with tooth decay and cavities. The shrinking gums expose the root of the tooth, which may result in tooth loss.
Several manufacturers claim that their smokeless tobacco product can help people quit smoking, and many people buy their product following this belief. There is no proof of this, and there has been very little thorough research in this area. Even if this is true, the damage to your oral and overall health remains the same.
In summary, anyone who uses nicotine is likely to experience gum recession, which eventually progresses to other severe oral health issues. It is related to the dose of nicotine and the duration of exposure. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is time to switch to a low-nicotine product and work your way towards quitting the habit!
If you have any questions about your dental health, Snow Family Dentistry offers a wide range of solutions and consultations. For us, your smile matters!