Effects of Tobacco Smoking on the Dorsum of the Tongue and Buccal Epithelium


College of Dentistry, University of Hail, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).


Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the effects of tobacco smoking on the dorsum of the tongue and buccal epithelium. Methodology: This case control cross-sectional study was conducted with 174 smoking and non-smoking volunteers living in the city of Hail, Northern KSA. Cytological Materials were obtained from buccal mucosa and dorsum of the tongue, and assessed using cytopathological methods. Results: In buccal smears, cytological atypia was observed in 17 out of 101 (16.8%) smoker cases but only 3/73(4.1%) of the controls. For cytological atypia in buccal and tongue smears, the adjusted odd ratio (OR) and the 95% confidence interval (CI) were found to be 4.7 (1.3-16.8), P < 0.016)) and 4.3 (0.93- 20.2), P <0.06)), respectively, in the two sites. Conclusion: Tobacco smoking is a major risk factor for occurrence of cytological atypia, which might subsequently develop into oral precancerous and cancerous lesions. Oral exfoliative cytology is an easy and cheap non-invasive procedure which appears highly suitable for screening populations at risk of developing oral cancer.