You don’t need a Monroe, WA family dentist to tell you about the dangers of smoking. By now, it should be pretty clear that smoking not only increases your risk of a variety of cancers, the habit also seriously jeopardizes your oral health. Research has shown that smokers have a significantly higher risk of tooth decay, gum disease, chronic bad breath, and permanent tooth loss when compared to nonsmokers. This increased risk is primarily due to the fact that smoking actually helps harmful bacteria in the mouth grow at a faster rate than normal.
Obviously, smoking presents a very real risk to your health, especially for women.
In the years between 1999 to 2009, women in Ireland suffered from more cases of oral cancer due to smoking tobacco than in previous decades. Between the years of 1994 to 2001, over 2,100 people were diagnosed with oral cancer in Ireland, a statistically significant number.
Based on research conducted by Ireland’s UCC Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, the majority of patients diagnosed with oral cancer during that time period were men. A recent study has found that an average of seven men and five women out of every 1,000 are at risk of developing oral cancer. While oral cancer is a common disease among both men and women, statistics show that there is an increasing rate of women at risk of getting diagnosed with the disease between the ages of 55 to 62.
Women Developing Oral Cancer at an Alarming Rate
For women, researchers noted an alarming rise in the number of oral cancer diagnoses from 24 to 32 percent between the years of 1994 to 2009, especially for a disease that occurs more frequently in men. Over past decades, women in Ireland used tobacco less frequently than men. The results of this study have caused considerable concern for health experts as it has shown that while women smoke less frequently, their rates of oral cancer continue to climb.
This is such a cause for concern due to the fact that symptoms of oral cancer usually don’t develop until the late stages of the disease. When detected late in the disease’s development, oral cancer has a much higher mortality rate. Patients who manage to survive are more likely to develop a second type of cancer.
There’s no doubt about the impact that tobacco use has had globally. A report from the World Health Organization suggests that 4 million people have died due to tobacco use, with the leading cause of death being oral cancer.
Another study conducted at the University of California suggests that combining alcohol consumption with smoking tobacco increases the risk of oral cancer by 15 times when compared to smoking without drinking. This is why smoking is classified as a “lifestyle” disease.
What triggers the development of oral cancer from smoking are the fungi and viruses that heavy smokers typically get from tobacco. The anterior of the mouth and posterior of the oral cavity are associated with the HPV16 viral cause the development of cancer.
There are a variety of types of oral cancers that include tumors on the floor of the mouth, surface of the lips, hard palate, tongue, and other places in the mouth. The disease will typically form along the lips, gums, cheeks, and throat.
Lowering Your Risk of Oral Cancer
While stopping smoking will obviously greatly reduce your risk of oral cancer, so will improving your oral hygiene. Smokers need to make a concerted effort to protect their oral health by brushing and flossing more frequently, while also scheduling more regular visits to see their Monroe, WA family dentist.
Brushing, flossing, and receiving regular dental care more frequently will help to remove some of the harmful bacteria from the surface of your teeth and gums. While improved oral hygiene will help, lowering your risk of oral cancer means stopping smoking. Without cessation, your risk of the disease will continue to increase.