World No Tobacco Day is celebrated around the world every year on May 31 to spread awareness against Tobacco use. Tobacco use in any form—cigarette, cigar, pipe and smokeless (spit) increases the risk for a variety of health conditions. But did you know that tobacco can help cause some serious problems with your dental health? 

Here are some surprising effects of tobacco on your teeth and gums.

1. Stained Teeth & Bad Breath:
In healthy teeth, the enamel is translucent but white. Prolonged use of chewing tobacco or smoking leads to loss of whiteness of your teeth. It slowly adds a sickly yellow color to your teeth, as well as give you hard-to-cover foul breath…all very unattractive. Smoking even stains dental bridges, dental implant restorations, and dentures.

2. Periodontal (gum) disease:
Studies shows that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of gum disease. Tobacco irritates gums, which can cause your gums to pull away from teeth and create pockets. Food particles get trapped in those pockets, which is just what bacteria loves to eat- leading to gum diseases.

3. Tooth loss:
Smokers are about twice as likely to lose their teeth as nonsmokers. Cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff and unprocessed tobacco leaves (used as cigar wrappers) contain tiny particles that are abrasive to teeth. When mixed with saliva and chewed, an abrasive paste is created that wears down teeth over time.

4. Oral Cancer:
Chewing tobacco with its 28-cancer causing agents leaves gums, cheeks, lips and throat in constant exposure to unhealthy juices. This can result in cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus.  

Kick the Tobacco Habit
Regardless of how long you have used tobacco products, quitting now can greatly reduce serious risks to your health. The addictive quality of nicotine, found in cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco, can make this especially difficult. That’s why it’s important to have a plan and a support network of people to help you stick to your plan. To stop using tobacco, your dentist or doctor may be able to help you calm nicotine cravings with medications, such as nicotine gum and patches.

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