May 15, 2015
Kicking the habit is not just good for your body, but good for your teeth and gums as well.
According to your dentist, smoking and using tobacco products will cause bad breathe and tooth discoloration. If you are a heavy smoker and have nicotine stained fingers, you can only imagine what smoking is doing to your teeth.
Tobacco products can inflame the salivary glands on the roof of your mouth, and increase plaque and tartar buildup. Continued use of tobacco products can also cause jawbone loss. If you smoke cigars, cigarettes, pipes, hookah pipes or chew tobacco, you are increasing the risk of white patches, or leukoplakia inside of your mouth. Tobacco use can also delay the healing process if you are having any type of oral surgery including tooth extractions, periodontal treatment, or dental implants. In fact, the success rate of dental implants is considerably lower for people who smoke or chew tobacco. Not only does tobacco increase your risk for oral cancer, but can also cause gum disease, which if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss.
Tobacco can cause gum disease as it affects the soft tissue and bone attachment to your teeth. The American Dental Association explains that smoking affects the normal functions of your gum tissue cells. This interference makes tobacco users more susceptible to periodontal disease and other infections. Because smoking and chewing tobacco impairs the flow of blood to your gums, it can also slow the healing process.
Just like cigarettes, pipes, cigars and hookah pipes will eventually lead to all sorts of oral health problems. A 23-year study showed tooth and bone loss in cigar and pipe smokers that was equivalent to cigarette smokers. Although cigar smokers do not inhale, they are still subject to other oral health problems including gum disease, stained teeth, bad breath, and oral cancer.
If you thought you were safe with smokeless tobacco products, think again. Because snuff and chewing tobacco contain over 28 chemicals they will increase your risk of throat and oral cancer. It’s a fact that chewing tobacco has more nicotine than cigarettes making it difficult to kick the chewing habit. One pinch will deliver more dangerous nicotine than 60 cigarettes.
Chewing tobacco irritates your gum tissue causing recession. Once the roots of your teeth are exposed, you are increasing the risk of dental caries. Exposed roots will also cause tooth sensitivity. If that isn’t bad enough, sugar is sometime added to enhance the flavor of chewing tobacco that can also put you at risk for tooth decay.
The best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease is to stop smoking and practice good oral hygiene that includes brushing twice and flossing once each day and enjoying a good health diet that is full of fruits and vegetables. Of course, regular checkups with your dentist should also be included in your oral health regime.
For more information regarding tobacco use and your oral health, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.