Millions of Americans are smokers, and smoking is well-known for causing serious health risks. Some of the common health risks you’re probably familiar with are lung cancer and emphysema, but smoking can have a negative impact on your teeth, too. If you’re having a tough time kicking this habit, take a closer look at how smoking is affecting your teeth and your mouth. It may be enough to motivate you to give up smoking for good.
Smoking Yellows Your Pearly Whites
One of the aesthetic effects of smoking is yellowing and staining of the teeth. All those chemicals that are in the tobacco in cigarettes can stick to the enamel of your teeth. Over time, this results in staining. If you want a whiter smile, you’ll need to quit the habit for good. You can try whitening treatments while you’re smoking, and while it may slow the stains on teeth a bit, teeth will only continue looking worse if you don’t kick the habit for good. Eventually, the staining can become so bad that it may not go away even if you do quit. Then you’re only left with costlier options like tooth overlays or implants if you want a brighter, whiter smile.
Bacteria Overgrowth Cause Bad Breath and Tooth Decay
When you’re smoking regularly, it can cause bacteria overgrowth in your mouth. Bacteria is what causes bad breath, so you can expect to deal with halitosis regularly if you keep smoking. Not only does that bacteria overgrowth cause bad breath, excess bacteria can raise your risk of tooth decay. Bacteria produces the acids that result in decay of your teeth, and tooth decay only makes bad breath worse.
Smoking Increases the Risk of Gum Disease
Studies show that smokers have a much higher risk of developing gum disease, and unfortunately, if you don’t deal with gum disease quickly, it can lead to tooth loss. Gum disease is a type of infection that can destroy the soft tissue and bone that keeps teeth anchored to your jawbone. Not only are smokers at a higher risk for gum disease, they often don’t notice the early signs of the disease, so it’s often left untreated until it becomes very severe. Smoking can also make it more difficult to treat gum disease, and when it is treated, you may not see the significant improvement you want.
It Takes Longer to Heal
When you do need dental care like tooth extractions, implants, gum disease treatments, and oral surgery, smoking can make it more difficult for you to heal. In smokers, the body doesn’t heal as fast, and you’re also at a greater risk for complications after dental procedures. If you deal with tooth loss and you need implants, smokers have a higher risk of implant failure as well.
Other Serious Oral Health Considerations
Beyond affecting your teeth, smoking can cause some other serious oral health problems as well. Smokers account for approximately 90% of patients who have oral cancer. The longer you smoke, the higher your risk of developing some type of oral cancer, such as cancer of the lips, mouth, tongue, and throat. If you keep smoking after you are diagnosed with oral cancer, you’ll have a higher risk of developing this type of cancer again.
Smoking comes with serious consequences to your teeth and overall oral health. Gum disease, stained teeth, gum recession, oral cancer, and slower healing times are just a few of the oral health problems you may encounter if you smoke. One of the best ways to reduce your risk of these problems is to stop smoking. Kicking the habit can improve oral health and offers significant overall health benefits as well. If you need help quitting, schedule a visit with your dentist. Your dentist can work with you to help you come up with the best option to help you quit, and your dentist can work with you to deal with any oral health concerns you’re experiencing as a result of smoking. Call your dentist today and get ready to kick the smoking habit that’s damaging your teeth.