Smoking has been shown to negatively impact the health in a variety of ways. It is also one of the worst possible habits for the health of your teeth. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of the incredibly detrimental impact that smoking has on your smile. Quitting smoking is the best way to protect the health of your teeth and smile, but there are additional steps that you can take to help protect your teeth. It is important to understand precisely how smoking impacts your smile.
The Impact of Smoking
Smoking impacts the teeth and the gums in many different ways. For one thing, smoking regularly lowers the body’s resistance to infection, which can lead to a large array of health issues. Additionally, smoking limits the blood supply and circulation to the gums, which can slow down the healing process and cause more problems. This is even more pronounced following an extraction or other oral health procedure. The chemicals in cigarettes impact the saliva flow inside of the mouth, which leads to more plaque and tartar being allowed to form on the surface of the teeth. This formation can lead to many additional oral health problems.
Periodontal disease is commonly caused by smoking. This disease is essentially an infection in the gums that causes damage to the bone around the teeth. This leads to teeth loosening, among many additional concerns. Unfortunately, periodontal disease can be masked in smokers. Bleeding gums are one of the most noticeable signs of periodontal disease, but this occurs less often in smokers, as smoking impacts their blood circulation. The more heavily smoking is done, the more extreme the periodontal disease.
Understanding the signs of periodontal disease can help you to obtain treatment before it is allowed to escalate. Red, swollen, and tender gums often indicate that periodontal disease is present. Pus discharging from the gums, loose or receding gums, bad breath, loose teeth, and gaps in the teeth are all indications of periodontal disease. If most or all of these symptoms are present, it can be incredibly beneficial to visit us immediately.
Smoking often causes teeth to be stained. DIY whitening methods can potentially cause even more damage to the teeth. The nicotine and tar that are present in tobacco products often cause the teeth to yellow. Many smokers even complain that their teeth become nearly brown over time. This is just one of the ways that teeth are impacted by smoking.
Since smoking makes it difficult for the blood to circulate in the gums, it causes slower healing. This can lead to the development of infections and many additional issues. Impaired healing can make a general extraction far more complicated.
Oral cancer is far more common in tobacco users than those who don’t use these products. WebMD estimates that 90% of individuals with oral cancer are tobacco users. Signs of oral cancer include ulcers, white or red patches, and swelling. If you smoke, it is incredibly important to have your dentist check for oral cancer regularly.
Impaired healing, dry mouths, and a lowered resistance to infection increase the likelihood of dry socket developing after a dental procedure. Not only is this incredibly painful, but it can lead to an escalation of oral health issues. Contact us if you think that you may have developed dry socket after an oral health procedure.
Are Smokeless Tobacco Products Okay?
Many of the issues that are caused by smoking result primarily from the chemicals that are present in the cigarettes. These same chemicals are generally present in smokeless tobacco products, as well. Switching to smokeless tobacco products won’t help to protect your teeth from the many issues caused by smoking.
Helping your Teeth
The best way to protect your teeth is by quitting smoking. If this is too difficult, reducing the amount that you smoke can also benefit your smile. If you smoke, it is increasingly important to maintain regular visits to your dentist. This will allow them to check for oral cancer and thoroughly clean your teeth. A good oral hygiene routine is critical to protect the teeth and offset the possible damage that smoking can cause. Using the right toothpaste will help to keep your teeth strong and protected. Staying hydrated can also help to protect the teeth. Smoking can make it more difficult for the mouth to produce saliva. Drinking enough water can help to flush out the harmful particles that saliva isn’t able to.
How to Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking is difficult in many ways. Due to the extreme difficulty of quitting smoking, there are many ways that can help you to quit smoking. For one thing, you can begin to reduce the amount that you smoke, which can make it easier to eventually quit. Other options include nicotine gum, patches, and even certain medications. Finding a support group can also go a long way toward helping you to quit smoking, because you will be able to obtain support from a group of people that understand what you are going through.
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
When you quit smoking, you will substantially improve your health in a variety of ways. Quitting smoking helps to save you money, because you won’t have to purchase cigarettes. It also reduces the likelihood of expensive medical costs. This helps to stop the spread of significant stains and creates fresher breath. You will find it much easier to breathe and will reduce your risk of developing serious medical conditions.
When it comes to your oral health, smoking is incredibly detrimental. Taking the steps to quit smoking will go a long way toward protecting your smile. If you can’t quit smoking, it is important to follow the additional steps to protect your teeth from sustaining damage. Here at Avenues Family Dentistry, we are dedicated to providing the services that you need to improve the health of your smile. To learn more about our services and how they can protect your smile, contact our experts today!