We are aware that smoking and tobacco use have detrimental effects on your general health and increase the risk of many serious illnesses, including lung cancer. But did you know that prolonged smoking can also have a significant impact on your oral health? When you start smoking, your teeth and gum tissues are the first to suffer the hazardous side effects. In this blog, we will discuss the different ways smoking can affect your oral health and what you can do to maintain a healthy smile.
A highly noticeable outcome of chronic smoking is tooth discoloration. When you smoke, the chemicals in cigarettes (nicotine and tar) cause dark brown or black stains on the tooth surfaces. Your teeth also lose their natural whiteness and become dull over time. These stains are stubborn and are difficult to remove with regular brushing. The best way to counter smoking stains is to get professional dental cleanings and teeth whitening. With these treatments, you can maintain the luster and beauty of your smile.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is one of the most common and adverse effects of smoking. The hazardous chemicals attack the gum tissues, causing irritation of the gum lining. It also leads to increased plaque and tartar deposits, which in turn heightens the risk of gum disease. Studies show that up to 50% of cases of gum disease are linked to smoking or tobacco use. Regular smoking also reduces the blood supply to the gums. If left untreated, you may eventually suffer from gum recession, bone loss, or tooth loss.
Cigarettes contain thousands of harmful chemicals that can have a negative effect on your oral health. When smokers inhale these chemicals, they decrease saliva production, cause dry mouth, and halitosis (bad breath). Chronic smokers have a very distinguishable stale scent that is often known as smoker’s breath. Because smoking can increase plaque deposits, this can also contribute to bad breath among smokers.
Smoking is one of the most prominent causes of oral cancer. It is a serious concern, as nearly 75% of the people affected by oral cancer are smokers. The longer you smoke, the greater your risk of developing this disease. The early signs of oral cancer are often unnoticeable, so you may not observe them until it reaches an advanced stage. With routine oral cancer screenings, it can be possible to detect oral cancer early and prevent further complications.
Failure of Dental Treatments
Since smoking can impact the blood supply to the gum tissues, it impacts your recovery after certain dental procedures. For example, smokers typically take longer to heal after a tooth extraction than non-smokers. They are also at a higher risk of developing ‘dry socket’, which can cause severe pain and distress. Smokers are also not good candidates for implant treatment due to poor oral health and delayed healing. These factors can impact the future success of implants.
While smoking can be hazardous for your oral health, many of them can be prevented if you quit this habit. Our dental professionals at Sima Family Dental offer biannual exams, dental cleanings, and oral cancer screenings to help you maintain your oral health at its best. Call us today at (281) 457-6444 to schedule a consultation and get personalized care for your dental needs.