How Smoking Affects Oral Health

Smoking is one of the leading causes of several oral conditions such as gum disease, staining, oral cancer - in severe cases - and tooth loss. People who smoke tend to ignore these possibilities despite the consequences.

Why Are My Teeth Stained?

Cigarettes and other tobacco products have a heavy concentration of nicotine and tar that have yellowing and browning effects on the teeth. One significant difference between a smoker and a non-smoker is their smile. Smokers will have teeth that are much more yellow or brown than the average person.

A 2005 study was designed to determine satisfaction levels among smokers and non-smokers with the color and aesthetics of their teeth. Smoking puts individuals at higher risk for stained teeth, and in severe cases, heavy smokers complain of their teeth becoming brown. 

Regular smokers, as opposed to non-smokers, were more likely to report dissatisfaction with the color of their teeth: 28 percent of smokers reported feeling dissatisfied with the moderate to severe discoloration they experienced. Meanwhile, 15 percent of non-smokers felt this way. There are other ways to stain teeth such as coffee, tea, red wine, and dark-colored soda, which are likely the reasons for non-smokers to be dissatisfied with the color of their teeth.

This study reveals that tobacco products negatively affect the aesthetics of a person’s mouth. A healthier smile and mouth both start by quitting smoking.

How Can Smoking Affect My Gums and Teeth?

Smoking is harmful to the gums and teeth because it increases an individual’s likelihood of producing plaque, tartar, and other harmful bacteria that lead to gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Smokers should consider quitting because their chance of developing gum disease is higher, and gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Furthermore, smokers with gum disease are unable to heal properly, as smoking blocks the flow of oxygen through the bloodstream.

In an NCBI health study, 14.5 percent of respondents among both avid, regular smokers and occasional smokers were unaware of the potential for tobacco use to induce gingivitis and periodontitis. Interestingly, the study found that awareness was inversely correlated with smoking status. In other words, more frequent smokers were marginally less aware of the potential for gum disease as a result of smoking than the surveyed non-smokers were. For this reason, dental health awareness is vital to create healthy behaviors with the hope of eliminating gum disease in cigarette smokers.

How Is Smoking Linked With Cancer?

Smoking is one of the most well-known causes of lung cancer, but it also can cause both mouth and gum cancer. Mouth and gum cancer are equally as fatal and severe as lung cancer, and the leading cause for each of these is smoking.

It is crucial that you regularly visit your dentist, as every check-up includes a screening for oral cancer. Schedule your exam with a Dental Practice in Greenwich to ensure you are cancer free.

Are There Special Dental Products I Can Use?

There are several specialized dental products designed for people who smoke. Special toothpastes - designed to be rougher and more abrasive on the surface of the teeth - are available to use in alternation with your regular toothpaste. Whitening toothpaste cannot change the color of your actual tooth, but can help to remove the stains on the surface.

What About Mouthwashes? 

Smokers suffer chronic bad breath more often than non-smokers. Mouthwash is a helpful way to mask this issue, but alternative action should be taken to reduce bad breath in the long-term.

How Often Should I Visit My Dentist?

You should visit your dentist for check-up visits and teeth cleanings bi-annually. These visits allow your dentist to look for any dental issues that could be potentially harmful before they become an issue to your health and comfort. Smokers may need to schedule more frequent teeth cleanings to eliminate staining and to ensure they are in excellent oral health. 

During your dental exam, your dentist will conduct a complete examination of the face, teeth, gums, cheeks, tongue, and throat for any signs of disease. Your dentist can also help you if you want to quit smoking. They can provide resources to help you get in touch with support groups and organizations that can help you stop smoking.

Author Info:

Greenwich Dental Health, a brand new, independent dental practice in Greenwich near Cutty Sark offering exceptional dental care at affordable prices within a clean, stress-free and family friendly environment. Visit our website for further details.

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