Smoking can hurt your health in a multitude of ways. One of the major ways smoking can impact your life is through the negative impact that it has on your oral health. Quitting smoking can be a powerful way to improve the health of your smile, along with your general health. If you can’t quit smoking, there are many steps that you will have to take to protect your health from the damage that smoking can cause. Here are a few things you need to know about smoking and your oral health.
Methods for Quitting Smoking
There are many methods and strategies for helping you to quit smoking. Quitting smoking is generally not an easy undertaking. Tools like nicotine patches, gum, or certain medications can help to limit cravings and ease the process. You can ask your doctor for assistance choosing the best methods to take to quit smoking. There are also support groups to help you obtain a network of guidance throughout your process. These are especially beneficial, because you will find the help of people who understand the struggle that you are going through. You can also try to quit in steps, by first reducing the amount that you smoke before quitting entirely.
How Smoking Impacts your Smile
The manner in which smoking impacts your teeth is ultimately what causes the additional oral health issues to arise. Smoking often allows for tartar to build up on the surface to the teeth, which increases the risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease. Tartar and plaque often lead to tooth decay, as they allow bacteria to flourish. This buildup is caused by smoking, because it limits the saliva production of the mouth. This limitation is generally due to the chemicals contained in cigarettes. Limited saliva production makes it more difficult for the mouth to flush out harmful bacteria and food particles, allowing them to eventually lead to the formation of plaque. Additionally, smoking harms blood circulation in the gums. This makes it more difficult for wounds to heal, which can cause complications following dental procedures.
Oral Cancer Risk
Oral cancer is far more common in tobacco users. In fact, about 90% of those with oral cancer are tobacco users. The chances of developing oral cancer increase even more when the individual drinks alcohol regularly, as well. You may be able to identify the presence of oral cancer due to ulcers that are present in the mouth or on the lips for longer than 10 days. Red and white patches, as well as swelling, are also signs of oral cancer. It is important to be aware of these signs to detect oral cancer as soon as it develops.
Periodontal disease is an oral health concern that targets the gums. It can be painful and even lead to the loss of teeth. This is a common issue with smokers. When allowed to progress, this infection can cause the bones around the teeth to deteriorate, which leads to them loosening, among many other problems. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for smokers to detect periodontal disease, due to the poor circulation in their gums. It is important to visit a dentist regularly to ensure that periodontal disease isn’t present and causing damage to the teeth. Gums are often the largest indicator of the presence of periodontal disease. Gums that are bleeding, swollen, red, tender, loose, or contain pus discharge are often infected with periodontal disease. Bad breath, the appearance of gaps in the teeth, and loose teeth are additional signs of periodontal disease.
Stained Teeth and Halitosis
Tobacco products contain both nicotine and tar. These substances cause stains and yellowing to adhere to the surface of the teeth. Professional whitening treatments can offset this impact, but it won’t necessarily protect the health of the teeth. Additionally, oral health issues often lead to the development of bad breath. Halitosis is commonly caused by smoking regularly.
Smokeless Tobacco Products
Smokeless tobacco products contain the same chemicals that are present in cigarettes. Switching to chewing tobacco rather than smoking cigarettes will not help to protect your teeth from the damage caused by smoking. It is best to quit the use of tobacco products altogether.
How to Protect your Teeth
Taking the steps to protect your teeth can go a long way toward limiting this damage from occurring. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to prevent smoking from damaging your teeth. If you can’t quit smoking, it can still be beneficial to reduce the amount of smoking that you do. An effective oral hygiene routine is crucial in protecting the health of your teeth. You should use fluoride toothpaste to thoroughly clean your teeth twice daily. Visit your dentist regularly to keep your gums and teeth healthy, as well as have them check for the development of oral cancer. Smokers should also make an extra effort to drink enough water and stay hydrated. This can help to offset the limited saliva production that is caused by smoking. Chewing gum can help to stimulate saliva production, which can further benefit the health of the teeth.
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
There are many benefits to quitting smoking. This can lead to improved senses and overall health. Quitting smoking creates fresher breath and stops the teeth from being stained even further. Quitting smoking helps to reduce the risk of developing many harmful diseases, as well as improves the ability to breathe. If you quit smoking, you will also save substantial amounts of money in the long run. You won’t be paying for cigarettes and you will save money on medical costs.
When it comes to your oral health, smoking can be extremely harmful. Quitting smoking is extremely important in preventing all of these issues from arising. Here at Hyde Park Dental, we are passionate about keeping your teeth in the best possible condition. If you have noticed any of these issues from smoking, you should schedule a visit with us to protect the health of your teeth.