Smoking wreaks havoc on your body. But many smokers don’t realize just how bad smoking is for their teeth and gums. Smoking is a habit that can negatively impact your oral health. Smoking can accelerate tooth decay and gum disease. This occurs because smoking reduces the amount of saliva in the mouth, and saliva helps wash away food particles and neutralize harmful acids. Smoking also makes it more difficult to fight off infections in the mouth. Read on to understand the oral health risks associated with smoking.
Smoking can contribute to a number of serious dental issues, including oral cancer. According to the American Dental Association, smokers are 30 percent more likely to suffer from oral cancer than non-smokers. The carcinogens found in cigarette smoke can directly contribute to cancer development, and smoking has been linked to the majority of oral cancers diagnosed today.
The chemicals in tobacco, such as tar and nicotine, can cause staining and discoloration of teeth and gums. Tar is naturally dark in color, while nicotine is colorless. The stains caused by these chemicals may range from yellow to dark brown.
Smoking also leads to more plaque and tartar buildup. Plaque is a thin, sticky film that builds up on teeth and contains bacteria and food particles. Plaque that is not removed hardens into tartar and can lead to tooth decay and cavities.
In addition to causing bad breath, smoking also causes gum disease. Smokers are 60 percent more likely to develop gum disease than those who never smoked. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. This is because smoking weakens your immune system, which makes you more susceptible to infections. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that affects your gums. When it’s left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss.
When gum disease advances, it ultimately affects the underlying bone structure that supports your teeth and your jaw. When the bone and supporting tissues weaken and break down, it can loosen the tooth and lead to tooth loss.
Smoking can also affect dental implants. Dental implants need to heal in the jawbone. Smoking can slow the healing process. Smoking can also increase the risk of implant failure.
Smoking also inhibits the body’s ability to heal wounds, so smokers take longer to heal from oral wounds.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it can be done. Your dentist can provide you with helpful tips to quit smoking. For example, your dentist may suggest using nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches or gum. He or she may also suggest reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. This can help you slowly wean yourself off cigarettes.
To know more about treatments offered by our dentist, call us at (619) 223-3811 and schedule an appointment to visit the dental practice.