How Smoking Affects Your Oral Health?
If you are a smoker and you would like to know how this can affect your general oral health please keep reading. Did you know that smoking causes about 90% of all lung cancer deaths and 80% of deaths from COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)?
What does Smoke do to your mouth?
Smoking changes your breath giving a very distinct smell as also gives a yellowing colour to the teeth.
What exactly is the smoke doing to your mouth?
As soon as you inhale a cigarette the toxins in the smoke start affecting your saliva, these toxins destroy the enzymes and proteins in your saliva, causing the saliva to lose its role in your mouth. Normally saliva acts as a defence system in your mouth, it washes away plaque and food particles that are building up and keeps your mouth clean, also the enzymes and antibodies and saliva destroy the bacteria on your teeth and prevent cavities, also keeping your breath smell fresh in the process but that isn't the case if you are a smoker, the more you smoke, the more these toxins start to affect the saliva. Eventually, instead of protecting you, your saliva starts to harm you, even becoming an agent in oropharyngeal and oral cancer. You will probably have a worse sense of smell and taste too since smoking also damages your taste buds so you might want to say bye to your favourite foods. As we mention before, smokers tend to have stained teeth, just like you have pores in your skin, you also have pores in your teeth as you smoke a cigarette the tara nicotine and tobacco gets absorbed into these pores and cause your teeth to look darker and this is the same case with e-cigarettes with nicotine and chewing tobacco as well. The longer you have been smoking the deeper the stains are embedded into your teeth and the darker these stains will become, basically, making them harder to remove. Your gums will not be so healthy either, smoking causes a lack of oxygen in your bloodstream and ultimately weakens your ability to fight off infections, your immune system. This means you will probably end up with gum disease, actually, smokers are at six times higher risk of getting severe gum disease compared to non-smokers. Do not expect this to heal right away either, smoking also makes it harder for your body to recover, meaning your gums will stay infected for a while, keep it up and your gum disease will only get worse, possibly turning into periodontal disease.
At this point your gums are not the only thing you are worried about, the infection has spread to the bones that surround your teeth which may cause them to fall out, but there is some good news. Researches found that smokers who had gum disease and quit showed a significant improvement within one year, compared to the ones who kept smoking. In fact, the health of your body and mouth can greatly improve over time if you quit smoking, not only this, your breath will smell better, your sense of taste and smell will improve and you will prevent any further staining of your teeth. If they are not too severe, most of these stains can be removed with professional whitening.
Are you thinking about quitting? Try talking to your physician, there are new products in the market that can help you quit, you may be surprised. Quitting smoking will help you to have a much healthier mouth, we know it can be hard but it would be the best option for your mouth and body.