Articles on health effects of tobacco

Smoking Effects on Teeth and Oral Cavity

Dr. Swasti Jain, Dentist
It is widely known that smoking can have a great number of adverse effects on the health of the smoker. Due to the nature by which the action of smoking is performed, it is only natural that oral health would be one of the areas most negatively affected by the act. It is very important, therefore, that a smoker take extra care of his/her mouth and teeth. There are ways in which a smoker can help to keep the damages of smoking from doing further harm through proper oral care.Oral Health Problems Caused By SmokingAmong the most common oral problems, smokers are at an increased risk for gum disease. Smokers are four times more likely of developing this problem than non-smokers.Due to the excess of harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, smokers are twice more likely to suffer tooth loss than non-smokers.Smokers are at a higher risk for developing leukoplakia, leading to throat, lung, and oral cancers. It can cause the salivary glands to become inflamed and contribute to deterioration of bone structure. Smokers also have a harder time recovering from dental procedures such as periodontal treatments, dental implants, and tooth extraction. Smokers are at a greater risk of developing dry socket from tooth extraction procedures. When dry socket occurs, the patient experiences severe pain in the affected area due to the bone and nerve endings being exposed.In addition to these medical ailments, smoking can also cause vanity issues impacting the teeth and mouth. Due to an increased and steady buildup of plaque and tarter, the teeth of a smoker are less attractive in appearance. Smoking also stains the teeth and can cause bad breath. In some smokers, the tongue can develop a condition known as black hairy tongue, due to a growth that may grow as a result of tobacco use. The condition causes the tongue to become yellow, green, black, or brown, and give the appearance of being hairy. Smokers may also lose the sensation of taste and smell.Dental Hygiene Tips to Improve Oral HealthWhile quitting smoking is the most effective way to ensure better oral healthHaving a proper oral hygiene plan is extremely important for smokers. Smokers should be brushing, flossing, and using a tongue cleaner and mouthwash on a regular basis, at least twice daily. By staying on top of regular dentist visits, smokers can also benefit from professional cleanings.People who smoke should also check for recurrent bleeding in the mouth, lesions, swelling, and lumps. White, red, or dark patches on the inside of the mouth, under the tongue, and on the cheeks that last more than two weeks should be brought to the attention of a dentist. Lumps on the lips and gums can also indicate a more serious problem, as should numbness or pain in any part of the mouth.

Throw Away the Cancer Stick – 10 Effective Ways to Quit Tobacco Addiction!

Dr. Era S. Dutta, Psychiatrist
Have you been contemplating quitting tobacco? Not only smoking, but even chewable tobacco is equally addictive and harmful. Here are some easy tips to get you on the way to achieve your goal of having a Tobacco-free life.WILL POWER – Everything in life depends on how badly you want it. Once you set your mind to something, impossible is nothing.SET A QUIT DATE – Setting a specific date (e.g your birthday, child's birthday) and going cold turkey is the best way. May not help some, for which try the next step.SEEK HELP – Do not be ashamed of speaking to your psychiatrist for both counseling and medication to help boost this process. Nicotine is addictive and you may need some help to quit.Make a CHART – Chart how many cigarettes you smoke and the most common timings. Quit the easiest cigarette first. e.g. the one that you smoke in the evening when you are idle and have nothing to do. Cross that one off, and after two days, cross another regular timing off. For e.g. – post meal. Gradually over a few weeks, you can see those crosses and feel happy.EXERCISE – Open those lungs up and repair the damage.MEDITATION & HYPNOSIS – Both help with increasing your will power and sticking to your resolution. After all, it is mind over body.Nicotine replacement methods – Chewing gums, lozenges, pastilles, patches are available in the market. Use them as per a doctor’s directives only.Desi methods – Craving? Try chewing on an elaichi (cardamom), or a laung (clove) to distract yourself.BUST THE BIGGEST MYTH - Many smokers and tobacco chewers are convinced that they can not have regular bowel movement (motions) without their daily fix. This is absolutely a myth and needs to be addressed by a good doctor. If you do have constipation, it will mostly last a few days at maximum. There are many methods to avoid this as well.TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND THOSE AROUND YOU – Both active and passive smoking is bad. Help yourselves and your loved ones. Last but not the least, protect the environment.          I would be happy to answer any queries you have related to Tobacco addiction.           HAPPY QUITTING!

Say No to Tobacco

Dr. Sandeep Nayak, Surgical Oncologist
Oral or mouth cancer is one of the most common cancers in Asia and most of it is caused by tobacco. These are disfiguring cancers which can only be made better by endoscopic surgeries like minimally invasive neck dissection. Tobacco has an interesting history. In October, 1492, Christopher Columbus was offered dried tobacco leaves as a gift from the American Indians that he encountered. Soon after, sailors brought tobacco back to Europe, and the plant was being grown all over Europe. Tobacco, probably mixed with lime or chalk, appears to have been used in these Native American populations as a toothpaste to whiten the teeth, it was perhaps in 1500AD that the notion of tobacco as a panacea became prevalent.Tobacco was also used as a medicinal plant during this time. It was used for treating ulcerated abscesses, fistulas, sores, inveterate polyps and many other ailments. Breathing the odour of fresh green leaves of the plant relievedpersistent headaches. For colds and catarrh, green or powdered leaves should be rubbed around inside the mouth. Diseases of glands in the neck could be cured by cutting out the root of the lesion and placing on it crushed tobacco plant hot and mixed with salt, on the same spot. Well, to tell the truth, during those days tobacco was solution for every ailment! However, those were the days when the evidence was scarce.Till the beginning of 20th century, the ill effects of tobacco abuse were unknown to the public. The tobacco giants ran advertisements claiming the benefits of tobacco. They advised that regular smoking would improve one’s health. It took enormous effort by the activists and scientific community to discover the ill effects of tobacco. Today, we know that tobacco use is the single greatest avoidable risk factor for cancer mortality worldwide, causing an estimated 22% of cancer deaths per year. In 2004, 1.6 million of the 7.4 million cancer deaths were due to tobacco use.Tobacco smoking causes many types of cancer, including cancers of the lung, oesophagus, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach and cervix. About 70% of the lung cancer burden can be attributed tosmoking alone. Second-hand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke, has been proven to cause lung cancer in non-smoking adults. Smokeless tobacco (also called oral tobacco, chewing tobacco or snuff) causes oral, oesophageal and pancreatic cancer.Cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco are made from dried tobacco leaves. Other substances are added for flavour and to make smoking more pleasant. The smoke from these products is a complex mixture of chemicals produced by the burning of tobacco and its additives. Tobacco smoke is made up of more than 7,000 chemicals, including over 70 known to cause cancer (carcinogens). There is no safe amount for tobacco. Any amount can cause cancer. The dose required in each person is different.So, it is better to SAY NO TO TOBACCO.

The Effects of Smoking on Oral Health

Dr. Parag M. Khatri, Dentist
When you see the warning on cigarette packages — "Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health." — What smoking-related diseases come to mind? Lung cancer, probably. Emphysema, maybe. But, did you know that half of periodontal (gum) disease in smokers is caused by smoking? Chronic (long-term)gum disease can lead to the loss of your teeth.Studies conducted to examine the effects of smoking on oral health have found that tobacco use may be one of the biggest risk factors in the development of periodontal disease.Not only does smoking increase the chance that you will develop gum disease, it makes treatment much more difficult and less likely to be successful. Smoking also lessens your mouth's ability to heal, so much so that many of the treatments you may want and need will not work well if you continue to smoke.For example, crowns and bridges in a person who has gum disease will not look very good because the gum disease will cause bone loss and receding gums around the crown edges. Implants are much more likely to fail in people who smoke. Popular cosmetic procedures, such as porcelain laminates, also will not be successful in a person who smokes.Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection that destroys soft tissue and bone that anchors your teeth to your jawbones. The bacteria found in dental plaque that forms in the pockets around your teeth and your body's reaction to the plaque contribute to the breakdown of soft tissue and bone.Smoking tobacco products can make gum disease get worse more quickly. In early stages of the disease, you may notice that your gums bleed when you brush or floss. As the infection worsens, your gums begin to break down and pull away from your teeth, forming pockets.Later, the pockets between your teeth and gums deepen as more of the supporting structures are destroyed.Ultimately, your teeth may become loose and painful and may even fall out.Studies have shown that smokers have more calculus (tartar) than nonsmokers. This maybe the result of a decreased flow of saliva. Smokers have more severe bone loss and more deep pockets between their teeth and gums than nonsmokers. Among specific findings, smokers were 2.6 to 6 times more likely to have gum destruction than nonsmokers, and severe bone loss was 4.7 times greater among current or former heavy smokers compared with people who never smoked."Smokers have less gum bleeding and redness, which can lead to the false impression that the gums are healthy. It is therefore very important that tobacco smokers have regular dental exams to evaluate their oral and gingival health," Dr.Albert says.Researchers still are studying just what smoke does to oral tissue, but it appears to interfere with basic functions that fight disease and promote healing. Researchers have found that smoking affects the way gum tissue responds to all types of treatment."It is believed that the chemicals contained in tobacco interfere with the flow of blood to the gums, leading to a slow down in the healing process and making the treatment results less predictable and often unfavorable," Dr. Albert says.One reason smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to lose their teeth if they get gum disease is that smoking can slow the healing process after periodontal treatment or any kind of oral surgery. One study found that smokers were twice as likely as nonsmokers to lose teeth in the five years after completing periodontal therapy. Additionally, the American Academy of Periodontology reports that in most studies of nonsurgical periodontal treatment, smokers showed less improvement than nonsmokers. Smokers also responded less favorably than nonsmokers to surgical treatment."It is not just cigarette smoke that contributes to periodontal disease," Dr.Albert says. All tobacco products, including pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco and cigars, can affect the health of your gums.In a study conducted at Temple University and published in the Journal of Periodontology in 2000, researchers reported that 17.6% of former cigar or pipe smokers had moderate to severe gum disease.In addition, experts say pipe smokers experience similar rates of tooth loss as cigarette smokers, and smokeless tobacco can cause the gums to recede,increasing the chance of losing the bone and fibers that hold teeth in place.The only good news about smoking and the health of your teeth and gums is that the Surgeon General's warning holds true — quitting now does greatly reduce serious risks to your health. A recent study reported that the likelihood of having periodontal disease was not significantly different among former smokers who had quit 11 years before and people who never smoked.Even reducing the amount you smoke seems to help. One study found that people who smoked more than a pack and a half per day were six times more likely to have periodontal disease than nonsmokers, whereas those who smoked less than a half pack per day had only three times the risk."The dental office is a good place to visit for help with quitting. Your dentist can show you the effect of smoking on your mouth and teeth. She or he can help you set a quit date and provide you with advice on which medications can help you quit, such as nicotine patches or gum," Tobacco use may pose the greatest threat to your health as a risk factor for oral cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that:Implant FailureImplants can be used to replace lost teeth in people who smoke, but smokers should know they are at increased risk for the procedure to fail.Studies that have examined dental implants in smokers and nonsmokers have consistently found that patients who smoke have more implant failures.  "As a result, it is important that patients who smoke and who are considering having a dental implant placed be made aware of the fact that their tobacco use increases the chance that the implant will fail.They should be encouraged to quit smoking before undergoing the procedure and should be provided with tobacco-cessation counseling and support," he says.

Prevent Cancer by Helping Others to Quit - Facts About Passive Smoking

Dr. Sunny Jain, Oncologist
Since last two decades, there has been a growing number of evidence regarding the harmful effects of smoking on non-smokers. This shows that passive smoking or second-hand smoking is an absolute health hazard and can be detrimental for public health.Second-hand smoke is a combination of the smoke exhaled by a smoker and the smoke that comes out from the burning tip of a cigarette or cigar. This smoke when inhaled by a non-smoker is known as passive smoking. We all know the bad effects of passive smoking; however, the extent and intensity of damage it cancause is much more.Passive smoking is a need to worry aboutNon-smokers who are exposed to this second-hand smoke increase their risk of lung cancer.If someone you live with constantly smokes and you are exposed to tobacco smoke, you increase your risk of lung cancer by 20% to 30%.Second-hand smoking can lead to premature death in non-smokers.Passive smoke contains about approximately 4000 chemicals of which 69are known to cause cancer.Passive smoking increases the risk of coronary heart diseaseChildren and passive smokingPassive smoking is very harmful for children and it puts them at a high risk for many diseases.Children who are exposed to second-hand smoke are at an increased risk for:Cot death or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)Developing asthmaRespiratory and breathing illness such as pneumonia and bronchitisRecurrent colds and coughsMiddle-ear infections.In fact, children who grow up with either of their parents smoking are three times more prone to start smoking as well. Besides, individuals exposed to passives moke show a tendency to show either of these symptoms such as irritation of eyes, nose, throat, cough, dizziness, chest pain or shortness of breath.Studies have shown that second-hand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death after smoking and alcohol abuse. This has led to ban of smoking in public places for safety of public health and promotion of a healthy environment. Environmental tobacco smoke ranks high as a source of indoor air pollution.Furthermore, studies have also suggested that passive smoke contains more number of chemicals than present in active smoking. As the size of particles in passive smoke is much smaller, so they can easily float in the air, which, in turn, is detrimental to the lungs. Usually, a smoker takes in only 15% of tobacco smoke and the remaining is exhaled out into the surroundings. This means, a passive smoker if present in a smoky room for two hours would be equivalent to have smoked four cigarettes.Thus, even though active smoking is much harmful than passive smoking, second-hand smoke also contains numerous harmful chemicals and carcinogens.If you are exposed to second-hand smoke, here are certain steps you can take to avoid exposure:Ask your guests to smoke outside the house.When you with children, visit non-smoking places.Sit away from smoking areas in public places.Educate others about ill effects of passive smoking.

Does Smoking Help in Weight Loss?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Can smoking lead to weight loss?  We know smoking is injurious to health and can cause cancer and lung, mouth, respiratory diseases over a period of time. It is highly addictive because of the nicotine content present in it and can easily let free radicals enter the body. Free radicals are substances that contain unpaired electrons which act with various substances in the body to form new cells. These cell formations can be result in  cancerous causing cells which can intensify into life taking disease. These days many people are experimenting various things like fad diets, smoking, weight loss pills, fat burners for weight loss but are they the healthiest way to lose weight. In fact it is one of the most common reason, which is to lose weight,why people start smoking.According to studies nicotine content in cigarettes can boost metabolism and provides a burst of energy. Smoking makes us inhale carbon monoxide which deprives the red blood cells of oxygen and leads to lesser absorption of nutrients for healthy growth. This makes the body work more than usual for the supply of oxygen and leaving you feel tired. The tar sticks to the airways which makes it difficult for you while breathing when you smoke. But does this marginal kick to metabolism really helps to lose weight and especially at the cost of your health?Smoking can distract you from feeling hungry. Smokers know this when they are hungry and crave for food and smoke at that time they can put off the hunger for a while. A healthier substitute to control hunger pangs is to replace this nicotine stick with a cup of green tea. There are other healthy ways to boost your metabolism other than choosing cigarettes which contains nicotine. Through exercise and eating regular meals would boost your metabolism. Drink lots of cold water for faster metabolism and weight loss. Smoking has a lot of adverse effects in the long run that includes dehydration which makes you lose water and slows down the metabolism resulting in slower calorie burn.Besides all that is written about smoking do you know of anyone who has actually lost weight with smoking? Either you know smokers who are fat and smokers who are thin. But we doubt there has been any weight loss success story that have resulted from smoking cigarettes.Here are some tips to try to quit smoking:Control your mind: Smoking can be very addictive and can be difficult to quit. Set yourself targets. Set your self a date to quit smoking and make sure you stop it on that day. In the mean while make small targets like not smoking till afternoon etc to lessen the density of nicotine in the body.Drink Water: Whenever you feel like smoking drink a glass of water and this could help you to postpone the urge to smoke a cigarette for a while. Doing this ways could bring in the gap between smoking cigarettes.Chewing Gum: Try diverting the mind every time you feel like smoking. Eat a chewing gum or pop in a mint to calm down the urge for a cigarette. Eat a toffee it could help reduce the craving with its sweet taste.Exercise: When you have quit smoking start exercising or go out for a run. As the craving for smoking can make you feel irritated and hyper at times. Running and exercising can help you throw away the frustration and will calm you down.

The Only Safe Cigarette Is the Last One!

Dr Vikas Khanna, Hypnotherapist
Stop smoking, NOW!Smoking is a habit which has always been found illogical by the author. Tobacco acts as a mind-stimulant but does not gives a proper high like alcohol and other soft drugs. There is a false sense of calming which is erroneously associated with smoking, whereas in actuality smoking increases anxiety.The suggestion that it relieves stress is a false auto-suggestion as on the contrary it increases stress by elevating blood pressure and nicotine dependency seems to exacerbate stress. This stress of nicotine dependence seem to be relieved by the next cigarette. So its funny that one creates stress by nicotine dependency and seem to relieve it by smoking! Smoking cessation exerciseAll habits are unconscious. So try being conscious of your smoking habit. Whenever you smoke, just do it with all your senses alert. Right from pulling out a cigarette from the box watching the picture of smokers lungs on the box. Feeling it between your fingers to putting it between the lips, be aware of the smell of tobacco. Watch yourself lighting it and the grey colored smoke entering your mouth touching and passing by the oral tissues to your air pipe to lastly filling your lungs. Make an internal picture of your pharynx and lungs filled with smoke (at this point, you may watch the picture of lungs again).Pay attention to all other feelings including dryness/coughing/ or any other body changes.This way the brain is programmed to sub-consciously associate smoking with the deleterious effects on the body and will suggest itself to quit to get rid of these undesirable effects which are now stored in memory with this conscious exercise. Hypnotherapy aids and magnifies the impact of this exercise and helps to break the pattern of rigid smoking pattern.Finally you are advised not to judge yourself everyday, and be patient to let the habit go on its own quite miraculously! Till then smoke and fill your lungs with it, but consciously!

Can I Quit Smoking?

Dr. Karagada Sandeep, Homeopath
Many smokers cease to be smokers without using any methods, sheer will power and determination seems to be enough for them. I used to envy such people, even though I knew a few of them envied me 'enjoying' my cigarette. Some smokers though, give up smoking, and after finding it easy to do so, decide that now is not the time to quit, and they can now quit whenever the time is right, it is easy anyway! One of the ironies of being a smoker. For most smokers though (including me then) it is a see-saw battle in operation on a daily basis, deciding every day that 'Today is the day I quit', only to find myself smoking again in a few days, if not hours.As a doctor I knew what smoking was doing to me, and also the people around me. After having tried numerous times to quit, I had given up on giving up smoking! Surprisingly after my last attempt to quit I did not feel like smoking anymore, and I realized all the different methods and approaches I had taken to quit smoking over the years had led me to that moment where I did not feel like I needed a cigarette anymore. It was a euphoric moment for me, and I felt like I had conquered this addiction of mine. I decided to share my new found knowledge with other smokers, and found it to be a near universal 'cure' to get rid of the addiction.It is not possible to explain in entirety everything which goes in to being a non-smoker in a article. However a few important things to consider are briefly explained below. In order to quit smoking and remain a non-smoker it is important to understand the true nature of this addiction. 1. The 'benefits' of Smoking .Smoking helps me relieve stress, smoking helps when I am bored, smoking make my celebrations more enjoyable, when not smoking I feel something missing in my life. As a smoker, I find that all situations and events incomplete without my cigarette, it relaxes me and makes me comfortable. Remember the time you were not a smoker, did you not feel relaxed then? Did life feel incomplete? Smoking your next cigarette is going to temporarily relieve you of the withdrawal pangs, which by the way were created by the last cigarette you smoked. The reason a smoker feels complete, at ease, and confident even, after smoking is because the nicotine from the cigarette replenishes the dropping levels of nicotine leaving the body. The smoker smokes and is relieved, the world seems a happier place, but all the cigarette has done is replenish the nicotine in the body. It is a vicious cycle, which most smokers are unaware of, explaining why cigarettes are so precious to them.Smoking does not relieve any stress or make more enjoyable, it in fact adds to the stress, because now you have to handle the stress already in your life and not smoking is creating another stress.  Does a cigarette seem tempting right after you have exhausted it? Probably not, your body is not suffering withdrawal pangs yet, wait for a while.2. The withdrawal pangs.The withdrawal pangs are horrible, it is hell! I'd rather smoke than go through this.Withdrawal pangs are what your body and mind experience when you have not smoked for a while. Depending on the addiction, it can vary in intensity and frequency. For smokers who decide to quit using will power, experiencing it is at times akin to going to hell. Some smokers say it is a feeling of discomfort, unease, some feel restlessness, a few even experience anger and irritability. Hunger is another commonly experienced withdrawal sign. Most smokers do not however realize that they undergo withdrawal period every day of their life and are able to handle it successfully without even realizing it. Surprising, but true. I have never come across a smoker who said they would wake up from their sleep because of withdrawal. The withdrawal pangs seem to cease when sleeping, wonder why? Because the withdrawal pangs are so minute and imperceptible that we are able to sleep without having had a cigarette for six to seven hours. Six hours during the day without a cigarette and the same smoker would experience a mountain sized withdrawal, but the same smoker is able to sleep blissfully through it. So is withdrawal really so bad, or does it only appear so? 3. The brain washing. I remember my biology teacher in school admonishing a few class mates who were caught smoking, she told them "Your father smokes because he has stress, what stress do you have?". Lesson learnt in our young minds- smoking has a justification, when faced with stress it is perfectly fine to smoke! There are many such brain washing that we receive which makes the pain and discomfort of inhaling the smoke seem worthwhile, such as:Smoking makes you look macho and cool- many on screen heroes do it. Smoking helps me relax and focus, all successful people appear to be smokers.Smoking is a part of every celebration- a reward for myself, I deserve it.I can handle this stress better as a smoker- During stress, it is common for a smoker to offer a cigarette to a non-smoker, he says "Have one, it will make you feel better", he doesn't, there is no withdrawal to address, but it may be enough to get him hooked.The biggest brain washing- Quitting smoking is impossible !Understanding and recognizing what was that brain washed you to have your first cigarette, the process to quitting is easier.The most important thing to remain a non-smoker, is to break the chain, by being a HAPPY NON SMOKER! And it is achievable when you understand why you smoke, what smoking actually does for you, and learn how you can quit happily and choose for yourself to get rid of this 'habit'. Remember smokers who find it easy to quit, find it easy to start again. Quit wisely.

Get Rid of Tobacco Stains for Better Health

Dr. Swasti Jain, Dentist
It is no secret that tobacco use is bad for your health. It is a commonly accepted fact that prolonged exposure to tobacco can cause a multitude of health problems and, in serious cases, fatal disease. What some people fail to realize is how tobacco use negatively affects their oral health. Whether it is cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars or pipes, tobacco use wreaks havoc on your mouth in more ways than one. Aside from having tobacco stains on your teeth tobacco use will result in bad breath, gum disease, tooth loss and, more seriously, mouth cancer. Quitting smoking is easier said than done, and it can become less satisfying when the stubborn yellow/brown tobacco stains linger on your teeth long after you have kicked the habit.Nicotine and tar are the two culprits in regard to tobacco stains on teeth. HOW TOBACCO STAINS TEETHNicotine by itself is a colorless substance, but when mixed with oxygen it turns yellow. When tobacco is inhaled or placed in the mouth, nicotine and tar settle into the oral cavity. These substances are able to leach their way into microscopic openings in our enamel, resulting in a yellow/brown discoloration of the tooth surface. Luckily, tobacco stains are extrinsic, meaning that they are on the outer layer of the tooth surface and can be removed.HOW TO REMOVE TOBACCO STAINSThe most obvious way to prevent tobacco stains from occurring is to quit smoking, or never start in the first place. Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine by brushing at least twice a day, flossing each night before brushing and using an antiseptic mouthwash can help to prevent heavy staining and tar build-up, but it will not completely protect your teeth from discoloration caused by tobacco use. If you are unable to brush after each tobacco exposure, rinse thoroughly with water to remove as many harmful substances from your mouth as possible. It is important to visit your dentist for regular check-ups. Not only will the cleaning remove the stains, but your dentist and/or hygienist will do a thorough examination of all your oral tissues to ensure your tobacco use has not caused more serious problems. Some people who build up stain faster than others can opt for a cosmetic cleaning between regular visits to keep the discoloration to a minimum; this should not, however, take the place of a regular checkup.