How Smoking Affects Your Dental Health

It is not secret that smoking is bad for your health, but the effects of cigarettes on oral health can be just as frightening. Cigarette smoke can cause all sorts of problems for your mouth if you can’t kick the habit.

How Do Cigarettes Pose a Problem for Oral Health?

Besides being a cause of heart disease, stroke, and cancer, smoking cigarettes actually can interfere with the normal function of your gum tissue cells. But what does this mean? Your gum tissue cells are an important part of your overall health when it comes to your teeth. Tinkering with their function can leave your more susceptible to nasty infections. Besides leaving you at risk for developing infections in your mouth, smoking cigarettes can impair the blood flow to your gums. This affects healing time for anything from cuts and abrasions to dental surgery. Besides the obvious medical issues smokers can experience, the effect of smoking on the mouth can lead to embarrassing problems. Bad breath, tooth discoloration, increased buildup of plaque and tarter, and an altered taste and smell can be some great reasons why you might want to quit smoking. The more complicated problems that smokers can face are inflammation of the salivary gland opening on the roof of the mouth, loss of bone within the jaw, leukoplakia, which are white patches in the mouth, gum disease, tooth loss, and increased risk of oral cancer.

Choosing Other Tobacco Products Will Help: FALSE!

Despite sounding like a great alternative, smokeless tobacco products actually leave patients with the same problems and more. Additionally, cigar smokers and pipe smokers also notice the effect of smoking on their oral health. Smokeless tobacco alternatives actually tend to use 28 different chemicals. Besides the problems listed above, this can also lead to throat and esophageal cancer, irritated gum tissue, and exposed roots which leads to higher sensitivity in the mouth. Additionally, many of these products contain sand and grit which wears down teeth. And the most popular products are flavored, which means they are enhanced with sugars that increase your risk of decay.

There is no way around it. If you want to limit your risk of experiencing these problems, especially reducing your risk of oral cancer, kick your habit fast! If you are having trouble quitting, ask your doctor what products they can prescribe to help you make this important lifestyle change. Besides feeling better, your dentist or orthodontist and, mostly importantly, your smile, will thank you.