Smoking is not just bad for your oral health, but it is bad for the entire body.
However, the real issue isn’t that people are unaware of the dangers of smoking tobacco. Rather, it is its highly addictive quality and for many smokers, the assumed risks of continuing the habit usually outweigh the hassle of kicking it in a smoker’s mind. Hence why if you’ve never smoked, we highly urge you to stay away from the habit to avoid the mental trap.
Analysing the Effect of Smoke on Oral Health
When you smoke, the smoke generates in your mouth before it is inhaled into your lungs. This is where nicotine’s addictive impacts take over. Keep in mind that we’re referring the tobacco smoke, but any type of smoke (i.e. hookah, illegal drugs, etc.) will produce the same results.
Smoke Causes Dryness
Any type of smoke dries out anything it touches. Our mouth produces saliva in order to manage the bacteria present. This smoke dries out the saliva in your mouth. The less saliva, the more tendencies for problems such as decay to arise.
When we smoke, we dry this saliva up and cause our bodies to work harder to replace what is lost. Do you see the problem here? This is the starting point of all oral health problems caused by smoking. Smokers often have these symptoms as a result of a mouth that is not as nourished with saliva as it should be:
- Stained, discoloured teeth
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss if decay is left untreated
- Inflammation of the gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Oral cancer
How Is Smoking Related to Gum Disease?
Smoking weakens your immune system. This makes it harder to fight off a gum infection. Once you have gum damage, smoking also makes it harder for your gums to heal. Gum disease starts with bacteria (germs) on your teeth that get under your gums. If the germs stay on your teeth for too long, layers of plaque (film) and tartar (hardened plaque) develop. This build-up leads to early gum disease, called gingivitis.
- You have double the risk for gum disease in comparison to non-smokers.
- The more cigarettes you smoke and the longer you have been smoking, the greater your risk for gum disease.
- Treatments for gum disease may not work as well for people who smoke.
Staying educated on the effects of smoking and constantly exposing yourself to its bad effects will move you a step closer to mustering up the courage to kick the habit. It’s tough – probably one of the toughest challenges for most. But many have already done it and continue to do it.
If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact either of our clinics and we’d be happy to discuss.