Nearly 40 million Americans choose to partake in the unhealthy addiction of smoking cigarettes. There is no secret when it comes to the dangerous health effects that smoking cigarettes have on our bodies but what is often overshadowed is the effects on our oral health. While the diseases and conditions associated with smoking are all serious, cigarettes can cause a lot of damage to oral health as well. We are going to explore a little bit more about what exactly happens and can happen to teeth, gums and oral health as a direct result of smoking. Protecting your smile is important because a smile is often the first impression that we make in nearly all personal interactions in our daily lives and smoking cigarettes puts that at risk.
What can smoking do to your mouth?
While cancer is often the first health condition thought of when talking about smoking but there are several other (perhaps less severe) consequences that are linked to smoking. Below are some of the most common diseases and conditions that are a direct result of smoking cigarettes.
Tooth Staining, Bad Breath and Decay
There are over 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke and you can bet that very few of them are harmless. While many are severely dangerous, all of them can impact the coloring of your teeth like the nicotine and tar. Harsh chemicals in the cigarette smoke touch all surfaces of your teeth and over time end up breaking down the protective enamel and staining and decaying your teeth. You can tell a heavy coffee drinker because their teeth will sometimes be discolored due to the acidity and color of the coffee, just think of what the cigarette smoke is capable of.
Can Smoking cause cavities?
Not only will the color of your teeth change but you will find yourself at an increased risk for cavities. The harsh chemicals that break down the enamel, leave behind a perfect environment for bacteria to build up and eat away at the tooth.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease– Does smoking cause gingivitis?
Yes, smokers are twice as likely to develop a gum disease, like gingivitis, than nonsmokers. Smoking cigarettes limit the blood flow to the tissues in the mouth, which can limit the bacteria-fighting capabilities of those tissues. By creating a hospitable environment (dry mouth, lack of blood flow), bacteria builds up on the teeth and eventually makes its way to the gums. If untreated, gums can recede and expose the underlying roots of the teeth. In the most severe cases, periodontitis can occur where the tissue and bone holding the teeth breaks down and teeth fall out. The catch to treating these conditions is that smoking makes it much more difficult to heal due to the lack of blood flow and unfavorable environment.
Nearly 80% of the individuals diagnosed with oral cancer each year are smokers and oral cancer is the most severe of the mouth-related issues that can be caused by smoking. It typically starts out as a white or red patch in the mouth and spreads to difficulty chewing/swallowing, jaw numbness and even pain in the ear.
While complications are painful and potentially life-threatening, there is a solution. Kicking the habit is your best bet to avoiding all of the mouth-related issues above. However, if you find yourself experiencing any of the symptoms or conditions above, please see us at Loop Dental as soon as possible. The sooner any oral health issue is caught and treated, the better the outcome will be. Come experience the Loop Dental Experience for yourself and get back to smiling proudly! Visit https://www.loopdent.com/appointment-request/ to request an appointment with us today!