Written by I love my Smile Oral Hygienist – Ina Alberts

As a non smoker and healthcare worker I’m alarmed by the amount of people around me who smoke.  I recently read an article “Role of Tobacco in the Development of Oral Leukoplakia and Oral Cancer” and was shocked at the facts.  And if you think vaping is harmless, think again…  E-cigarette users still develop some of the same cancer-related molecular changes in oral tissue as cigarette smokers.  Vaping is not a harmless alternative to smoking.  Vaping surpasses smoking among adolescents and there are concerns that e-cigarette use leads to nicotine addiction and future smoking

Why would one willingly choose to expose one’s body to the harmful effects of tobacco smoking and expose oneself to so many risk factors, I ask?  One reason could be that we’re not educated.  So here it goes.  A recap on smoking tobacco facts:

  • Tobacco smoking is associated with the development of many diseases, including oral cancer and Leukoplakia. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases the risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases (Graves’ ophthalmopathy, Dry Eye Syndrome), and diseases of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.   Many studies have shown a relationship between smoking and mental illness.  Smoking is one of the many factors that increase the risk of osteoporosis.  Cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, liver cirrhosis, lung cancer – this is an incomplete list of serious diseases that are often developed among chronic tobacco users.
  • Tobacco smoking increases the death rate of smokers by 30-80%.
  • Any form of tobacco (chewing, smoking, smelling) affects the oral cavity and causes life-threatening diseases such as oral cancer.
  • The risk of oral cancer is about 20x higher among tobacco smokers.
  • In the oral cavity, the risk of developing gum disease, teeth caries, and erosive damage is increased.
  • In the case of smoking more than one pack of cigarettes per day, the risk of developing oral cancer increases 30 times.
  • The risk of oral cancer is rapidly decreasing when a smoker stops tobacco use. Ex-smokers and non-smokers’ oral cavity health is the same after 10 years of smoking cessation.
    Citation:  Sabashvili M, Gigineishvili E, Jikia M, Chitaladze T (2018) Role of Tobacco in the Development of Oral Leukoplakia and Oral Cancer. Dentistry 8: 495. doi:10.4172/2161-1122.1000495

The most important measure for preventing oral health problems caused by tobacco consumption is the termination of use of tobacco products.

ilovemysmile.co.za | info@ilovemysmile.co.za | 012 348 0665

ilovemysmile.co.za | info@ilovemysmile.co.za | 012 348 0665