Everyone knows that smoking comes with a myriad of negative health effects. Almost every body system can be affected by smoking, and more severely if you smoke often.
But did you know that your dental health is also affected? Not only does smoking ruin the health of your teeth, but it does a number on your gums as well. Oral health is also linked to heart health and your general well-being, which means the health of your mouth can cause other cascading health effects.
Although smoking doesn’t cause tooth decay directly, it does damage to your gums that can lead to tooth loss, and smoking can also cause unpleasant cosmetic changes to your mouth.
How Does Smoking Affect Your Gums?
According to the CDC, smoking is a leading cause of gum disease, especially periodontitis, where gums pull away from teeth and allow bacteria free entry. This can lead to severe infection and possible tooth loosening and loss. Smoking affects your gums this way for two reasons. First, your mouth is the first part of your body that takes in smoke, and second, smoking slows down the healing process of your entire body. This makes your body less able to fight off bacteria and heal any injuries to your mouth, such as cuts, burns, and any incisions made from dental work. Bacteria in your mouth are also able to rampant, causing an increase in infections. Gum disease often begins with redness and bleeding, especially when brushing. In later stages, it progresses to loose gums, loose teeth, painful chewing, and even tooth loss.
What Does Smoking Do to Your Teeth?
A winning smile is great for socializing, job interviews, and virtually every other social situation. Smoking, however, can cause discoloration to your teeth. This is because the tar and nicotine in the smoke can stick to your teeth over time, turning them yellow or even brown. Smokers may need to visit a hygienist for cleanings more often to avoid this discoloration of teeth. They may also want to ask if teeth whitening treatments will help when their teeth are no longer as white as they used to be.
Other Oral Issues Caused by Smoking
Gingivitis and tooth discoloration are the most common mouth issues caused by smoking, but there are other, more serious health effects. While lung cancer often comes to mind, mouth cancer is also a condition that becomes more likely with smoking (or using other tobacco products such as chewing tobacco.) Your dentist can monitor your mouth for such a condition. Bad breath is another issue that no one wants and smoking also leads to a buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth, due to introducing more bacteria into your mouth. You can also experience inflammation of salivary glands.
The Best Course of Action
It isn’t easy to quit smoking, but the health benefits will improve your oral health in no time. Quitting will also help you recover more quickly from procedures such as tooth extractions, make implants more successful. This will help you save even more money along with no longer buying tobacco. You may even save your own life by avoiding oral cancer, a potentially deadly disease.
If you have any questions and live in the Smokey Point, WA or Marysville areas, reach out to us at Seven Lakes Dental today. We’re committed to helping you achieve the best oral health you can for many years to come.