It is no surprise that smoking is harmful for your health. However, while many people realize the damage that this habit can cause within the lungs or heart, they may not understand the serious impact that nicotine and tobacco products can have on the mouth. Whether your habit involves cigarettes, cigars, pipes or vaping, your dental health is in danger.
The Effects of Smoking on Oral Health
The consequences of smoking on your smile range from concerns that impact the aesthetics of your teeth to those that can cause irreversible damage to your gum health. At the office of Dr. Antoinette Liles, we value the opportunity to educate our patients on the hazards of tobacco use, especially as it pertains to the mouth. In doing so, we also hope we can help smokers kick their habit and regain a healthy and confident smile.
Depending on how much you smoke and how long you’ve been smoking, you may suffer a combination of the following dental health disruptions:
- Persistent bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Hardened Plaque (tartar) build-up
- Aggressive gum disease
- Jaw bone loss
- Shifting teeth
- Missing teeth
- Oral cancers
- Mouth sores
- Root decay
- Hairy tongue
- Smoker’s lip (like a burn)
- Altered sense of taste and smell
- Delayed wound healing
Smokers at Risk for Gum Disease and Oral Cancer
When it comes to smoking and dental health, the two most significant risks are gum disease and oral cancer. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, which means blood flow to your mouth and gums can be greatly restricted if you are a smoker. Unfortunately, this leaves the gum tissues more vulnerable to infection and can even disqualify you from oral surgeries such as dental implants due to the risk of complicated healing and recovery.
When the gums are more susceptible to bacteria and infection, gum disease can more easily set in. This is a progressive and serious oral health condition that can cause the teeth to lose stability or even fall out. Gum disease can be more difficult to diagnose and treat in those who smoke due to the limited blood flow to gum tissues that would otherwise swell or bleed easily when diseased. Current smokers are nearly four times more likely to have periodontitis (severe gum disease) than people who had never smoked.
Of the many consequences to the teeth and gums, oral cancer is undoubtedly the most serious concern for smokers. Mouth cancer can include the tongue, cheek, gums, tonsils and pharynx. Sadly, its death rate exceeds that of cervical cancer, often because it goes undetected.
Ready to Quit?
When you’re ready to quit, we are here to support you. Not only can we offer treatments (such as teeth whitening or gum disease treatment) to combat the effects that smoking may have already had on your smile, but we can also share valued resources to help you kick your tobacco habit going forward. Check out these Tips from Former Smokers from the CDC on how to quit.
To learn more about how smoking can wreak havoc on your smile health and body health, call Mint Dental today.
Posted on behalf of
190 Riverwind E. Drive, Suite 201
Pearl, MS 39208
Phone: (601) 882-5600