If left untreated, orthodontic problems can result in tooth decay, gum disease, headaches and earaches, as well as speaking, biting or chewing problems.
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Dentists are patients' first line of defense against the adverse effects of tobacco use and nicotine addiction stemming from cigars, cigarettes and spit tobacco. Dentists routinely screen for oral cancer and can help patients with tobacco cessation programs.
"Cigars are marketed as an upscale habit of the wealthy," says Robert Mecklenburg, DDS, MPH, dental coordinator, Smoking and Tobacco Control Program of the National Cancer Institute. "They are portrayed as being related to having money, sophistication and an important social image of which people want to be a part. And kids are aware of what adults partake in."
"People think smoking occasional cigars is fine, but smoking cigars increases nicotine levels in the body," says Dr. Mecklenburg. "And an increase in nicotine means an increase in dependence. In addition, tobacco carcinogens place them at risk of mouth and throat cancer."
Other facts about cigar smoking:
Reviewed: January 2012
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