Tags Posts tagged with "Cigarettes"


Teenagers Smoking Cigarettes
©Edyta Pawlowska/Shutterstock.com

I received my first anti-smoking education when I was in 6th grade in middle school. I remember learning about the different warnings that cigarette companies had to put on every pack of cigarettes.

Cigarette WarningsI remember thinking that if I ever manufactured cigarettes, I would use the warning “Cigarette Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide.”  That warning makes smoking sound so harmless — I figured it was the best warning to use if you wanted to sell more cigarettes.  It doesn’t even mention the bad effects that smoking has on your body; and if someone doesn’t happen to know what carbon monoxide is, then they will smoke in blissful ignorance.

I never did end up in the cigarette industry — and no,  I don’t have any regrets!  Starting on September 22, 2012, all cigarette manufacturers in the United States will be required to place very large warning graphics in their advertising and on every single pack of cigarettes.

One of the graphics discusses a topic that is taught in great detail at all dental schools across the United States — oral cancer.

Cigarette smoking doesn’t just cause oral cancer. Did you know that smokers have less teeth than non-smokers?

How to Look at the Nine New Cigarette Warning Labels

You can view all nine of the cigarette warnings at this page.  The oral cancer one is #5.

If you want to see the new cigarette warnings in high resolution, you can download this PDF file provided by the Food and Drug Administration.

Will The New Cigarette Warnings Make a Difference?

All of my patients that are smokers know that it can harm their bodies.  They know that they shouldn’t do it, but they keep doing it.  I would imagine that even with these new warnings, most smokers will continue their cancer-causing habit.

However, the population that I think these new warnings will benefit are children and teenagers.  By putting a visual aid on every pack of cigarettes, it will make children and adolescents think twice before beginning a habit that can damage their bodies.

Learn about one simple way to reduce your risk of oral cancer.

What’s Your Take?

Do you think that the new cigarette warnings will help fight the war against tobacco?  Do you think they won’t make a difference?  I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

Smokers Have Less Teeth Than Non-Smokers

It’s common knowledge that smoking has many awful effects on your health.  Since I try to deal with oral health on this blog, I won’t go into all of the systemic health risks of smoking.  I’ll just talk a little bit about the oral health risks.

Smoking Isn't Good for Your Oral HealthSmoking puts you at greater risk for oral cancer, such as lip, mouth, tongue, and throat cancers.  Smoking is strongly associated with gum disease, a leading cause of tooth loss.

Cosmetically, smoking can discolor your teeth (causing some smokers to fall for online teeth whitening scams) and cause bad breath.

What many people may not know is that smokers, on average, have less teeth than non-smokers.

Smokers Have Less Teeth, On Average, Than Non-Smokers

This study published in the April 2007 issue of the Journal of Dental Research looked at 43,112 male health professionals in the United States.  It found that those who smoke 5 to 14 cigarettes per day are two times more likely to lose teeth than a non-smoker.  People who smoke more than 45 cigarettes per day have three times the risk of losing teeth than a non-smoker.

An interesting conclusion of that study was that if you used to be a smoker, but hadn’t smoked in ten years, you still were 20% more likely to lose teeth than a non-smoker.  Quitting smoking can lower your risk of losing teeth to nearly that of a non-smoker.

A Study of Americans’ Oral Health Found That Smokers Are Missing More Teeth

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted from 1988 to 1994 and from 1999 to 2002 found that on average, smokers had lost more teeth than former smokers, and former smokers were missing more teeth than those who had never rouched a cigarette to their lips.

Here’s a graph I created using the data from the NHANES study:

Smoking Is Associated With Tooth Loss

As shown above, smokers are missing more teeth.  Interestingly, people are keeping their teeth for longer, as shown by the lower numbers at the turn of the century as compared to the numbers from 1988 to 1994.

Why Do Smokers Have Less Teeth than Non-Smokers?

The reason that smokers have less teeth is probably due to multiple factors.  It could be an interaction with the chemicals or smoke from the cigarettes and the mouth.  Some say that because smoking decreases bone density in the whole body, it decreases the strength of the bone that holds the teeth into place, thus causing more smokers to lose teeth.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that “[Adults with teeth] who were current smokers had a higher prevalence of untreated tooth decay (35.0%) than did those who never smoked (18.6%) and former smokers (17.7%).”

Perhaps those who smoke aren’t as concerned about taking care of their teeth.

What are your thoughts?  Please leave any comments and/or questions that you may have below in the comments section.  Also, if you know someone who might like this article, please don’t hesitate to share it with them.