Tobacco use is a risk factor for many oral diseases and adverse oral conditions. Dental hygienists play an important role in helping to educate individuals about the health hazards associated with tobacco use. Making the decision to stop tobacco use can improve your oral and overall health.

Examples of tobacco products and devices include cigarettes, cigars, cigarellos, pipes, hookahs, and chewing tobacco.

The oral effects of tobacco use include oral and throat cancers, chronic gum disease, tooth decay, tooth abrasion, stains, bad breath, dry mouth, impaired taste and smell, and mouth sores that do not heal.

Your dental hygienist will screen you for early signs of oral cancer and periodontal (gum) disease. Tobacco use is a leading cause of cancer and of death from cancer. As a primary oral health care professional, your dental hygienist performs a comprehensive examination of your head, neck, and mouth at each appointment. If an abnormality of any kind is found, your dental hygienist will make an appropriate referral for diagnosis. Early diagnosis and treatment of oral cancers can save lives. Your dental hygienist will also assess the health of your gums and the bones supporting your teeth. Tobacco use leads to bone loss, which ultimately leads to tooth loss.


Dental hygienists screen for early signs of oral cancer

Talk to your dental hygienist about strategies to quit smoking. Dental hygienists are skilled in health promotion, disease detection, and behavioural modifications. They are important partners in any plan to improve oral and overall health. Together during your regular appointments, you and your dental hygienist can discuss your oral health concerns and identify appropriate strategies to help you quit using tobacco products.

Did you know?

is the addictive property
in tobacco

1 cigarette
= 1.5mg nicotine

1 pipe bowl
= 3.5 cigarettes

1 large cigar
= 20 cigarettes (1 pack)

1 hookah session
(45-60 minutes)

= 20 cigarettes (1 pack)

1 tin dip/chew
= 60 cigarettes (3 packs)