It is estimated that as many as half of all smokers will eventually die because of their addiction to nicotine.
This is of course a tragically high number and although it isn’t easy to give up, there are many good reasons for trying. While smoking can be a killer, not many people will think about the effect it has on dental health. Yet, this is the place where the smoke first enters the body and it can cause many problems you may not have even considered.
We have listed a few of them below.
Smoking can badly discolor teeth and this is because of the nicotine and tar in tobacco that can stain teeth within a very short period. Smokers often complain about having stained teeth and this is one reason why many seek out teeth whitening treatments.
It is often easy to spot a smoker by the color of their teeth, but this is only the start of the problems that can be caused by smoking. Your local best dentist will be able to do a teeth whitening to improve the appeal, yet, it will only be temporary as long as you smoke.
It is easy to spot a smoker when they talk to you, as their breath is often stale and may be quite unpleasant. Breathing in hot smoke allows smoke particles to linger in the throat and in the lungs, long after someone has finished their cigarette.
If you smoke, it makes it easier for plaque to build up over your tooth surfaces. Plaque contains bacteria and its presence can increase the risk of tooth decay and cavities. This dental plaque can also affect the structures around your teeth and can attack the tissues surrounding the tooth roots, as well as the bone around them.
When plaque first develops over the surfaces of the teeth it is quite soft and can be easily brushed away. However, any plaque that is not removed will soon harden into calculus. This is a hard substance that must be scraped or scaled away from teeth during a professional cleaning.
During the time calculus remains on the teeth it is producing toxins that infect and inflame the gums. Thus, it is increasing the risk of periodontal disease. Calculus is also called tartar, which is why smokers will often choose to use tartar control toothpaste.
Periodontal disease is also called gum disease and it is a major problem. Periodontal disease is advanced gum disease and is the main reason for tooth loss. Unfortunately, smokers are far more likely to develop gum disease.
There are a couple of reasons why smoking increases the likelihood of tooth loss due to gum disease.
Firstly, the increase of plaque build-up increases the presence of bacteria. These bacteria produce toxins that will infect and inflame the gum tissues. Eventually this will result in the tissues surrounding the teeth beginning to break down.
Periodontal disease will first begin to destroy the gums, resulting in the tissue turning red and swollen, and they could feel sore and painful. As the gums become more infected and damaged, they start to recede, showing more of the tooth roots. This creates deep pockets, called periodontal pockets in between the gums and the teeth.
These periodontal pockets harbor even more bacteria and they may produce pus. At this stage, smokers may find they have a nasty taste in their mouth, or persistent bad breath. One of the earliest signs of periodontal disease is bleeding gums, a symptom that is frequently ignored.
Smoking affects the gums in a couple of ways. The nicotine constricts the blood vessels. Therefore, it is harder for the body to get essential nutrients to damaged tissues so they can heal. It is also trickier for the blood vessels to carry away toxins from the gums.
The constricted blood vessels are less likely to bleed, which is one of the first signs of infection. Consequently, smokers may not realize their gums are infected and the early signs of gum disease will frequently pass undetected. Smokers are often less able to fight infections, allowing periodontal disease to progress more freely.
Leukoplakia is the development of white or gray patches in the mouth. These can be visible on the tongue, as well as inside the cheeks or on the floor of the mouth. It can occur due to the sensitive oral tissues becoming irritated by the presence of smoke. Leukoplakia can often be a precursor to oral cancer.
Tobacco products often contain many dangerous chemicals and smokers are more at risk of developing some form of oral cancer. This can develop inside the mouth, in the cheeks, lips, and on the tongue. Additionally, also on the roof and floor of the mouth.
You should regularly visit the best dentist in your area. Have teeth cleaning sessions every six months and check-ups for any sign of gum diseases.