Dental Tips Blog


Which is Worse, Smoking or Smokeless Tobacco?

Posted in Oral Cancer

When people are asked which is worse, smoking or using smokeless tobacco, most people tend to think that smokeless tobacco is probably the lesser of the two evils. Because smokeless tobacco isn’t being inhaled to the lungs, it is thought that it is less carcinogenic. Unfortunately, both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are very damaging toward your health, and smokeless tobacco may even be worse for you than smoking cigarettes.

Smokeless tobacco, or simply dip tobacco, contains various ingredients, which help it to be absorbed through your delicate oral tissues, sending the nicotine into your system. Many of these ingredients are very alarming, and there is even ground up bits of glass to help irritate your skin so that the nicotine can be absorbed better. Over time, this causes precancerous tissue development that is abnormal from healthy oral tissues. Your dentist and hygienist can perform an oral cancer screening for you to help check for any precancerous or abnormal lesions. Areas in the mouth that are white, red, appear abnormal, do not heal within 2 weeks and are not present on both sides of the mouth are typical of precancerous tissue.

If you’re currently using dip tobacco, please don’t switch to cigarettes with the hopes that they won’t be as damaging to your health. The two are almost equally as bad for you, but in their own different ways. Smoking not only causes emphysema and lung cancer, it also predisposes you to tooth loss from periodontal disease. The best thing to do is talk to your dentist or doctor about a nicotine cessation program or prescription medication to help curb your cravings so that you can kick the habit completely.

Posted on behalf of Mountain View Oral Surgery and Dental Implants



Oral Pathology Screenings

Posted in Oral Cancer

At your routine dental visits, your dentist or hygienist performs an oral pathology screening to help detect early precancerous or cancerous lesions in the area of your mouth, head and neck. You may not realize that it’s actually being performed, but this is a critical step at every preventive care appointment.

Common areas for oral pathology to occur include:

  • In the floor of the mouth
  • On the sides of the tongue
  • On the lower lip
  • In lymph nodes along the neck and base of the skull
  • Thyroid area

Personal risks that may make you more likely to develop pathology include the use of alcohol and tobacco, but even completely healthy people that do not use these products have also been known to develop cancers in the head and neck. If your dental care provider were to find a suspicious lesion, you would be seen for a follow up exam or a biopsy if needed. The earlier a lesion is diagnosed, the more likely you are to be able to treat it effectively. Late diagnosis when pathology is obvious and has been for a long time usually mean the area has progressed greatly.

Signs to look for and let your dentist know about include areas or conditions that are:

  • Red or white, with an abnormal appearance
  • Sores that haven’t gone away within at least 2 weeks
  • Different in appearance on one side of the face than the other
  • Make it difficult for you to swallow
  • Hard or fixed lumps

Advancements in oral pathology screening also allow your dental care providers to identify abnormal tissues before they would typically be visible. Ask your dentist about advanced pathology screening at your next preventive care appointment!

Posted on behalf of Mountain View Oral Surgery and Dental Implants


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