Smoking and Oral Health
What are some of the effects of smoking on our oral health?
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Everyone knows that smoking is bad for us. However, we tend to focus on cancer and lung disease and overlook the fact that smoking also causes cavities and several other periodontal diseases as well. Today, we will take a look at how smoking affects our oral health.
How Smoking Affects your Oral Health
Smokers are more likely to develop periodontal diseases than non-smokers. The longer and more often you smoke, the easier it is to be diagnosed with gum disease.
Cigarettes contain thousands of harmful substances that can cause various diseases in our body, such as cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal disease. It also ages our skin very quickly. Among these harmful substances are 69 types of carcinogens.
The nicotine contained in cigarettes causes various oral and respiratory diseases and other health problems. It interferes with calcium absorption, which can narrow the blood vessels leading to the growth plate closing more quickly than expected. This can lead to bone health issues in the future. Long-term smoking can cause bad breath, cavities, gum disease, a sore throat, chest pain, and emphysema. Cigarettes are also known to cause benign and malignant tumors in the mouth. Tar, especially is known to increase incidences of cancer on the lips, mouth, larynx, and pharynx.
Additionally, tar stains teeth, implants, and gums black or brown. Even brushing your teeth won’t erase the staining of your teeth. You can only remove it after visiting the dentist and undergoing intense cleaning procedures.
Also, smoking increases the concentration of calcium and phosphorus in saliva, resulting in plaque buildup. Over time, the plaque hardens into tartar leading to dental issues. Poor oral hygiene, plaque, and tartar can worsen gum disease and cause inflammation of the roof of the mouth, cheeks, and mucous membranes.
The bad breath caused by smoking occurs when chemical compounds from cigarette smoke mix with the saliva in your mouth. This smell does not disappear easily or quickly. To get rid of this smell, some people have candy or gum. However, this is only a temporary fix and cannot completely eliminate the smell. Furthermore, the sugar and acid in candy or gum also negatively affects your teeth so they’re not really a good option for oral health. Getting your teeth cleaned regularly can help with the bad breath caused by smoking. For the general public, getting a cleaning about twice a year is considered appropriate. However, doctors recommend smokers go once every three to six months!
Severe smokers can even see yellow, brown, or black spots on their tongues. Additionally, their taste buds swell, which makes it easy for food and germs to get stuck. This can also cause severe bad breath, so smokers should make sure to brush their tongues carefully when brushing their teeth.
The chemical components of cigarettes can irritate wounds in the mouth, which can slow healing. Therefore, if you get your teeth cleaned or have dental surgery, experts recommend you quit smoking for at least 1–2 weeks.
We might be aware of the bigger diseases associated with smoking, but we should also consider all the dental problems it can cause! If someone you love insists on smoking, make sure they’re also getting regular dental checkups to decrease their risk for more serious oral diseases.