Adverse effects of smoking on teeth
Do you smoke? A whole pack of cigarettes per day, Right? But do you really know how it's affecting your health and most importantly your oral health?
Smoking has many effects on the mouth and using tobacco in any form, including cigarettes and chewing tobacco, can increase the bacterial plaque in your mouth and decrease the flow of saliva which washes away harmful bacteria.
What does smoking do to your teeth?
More the plaque and bacteria more will be the oral health issues:
1. Tooth Discoloration
Yellowish and Brownish stains over teeth are very common among smokers. The chemicals in tobacco stick to the enamel causing the teeth to stain over time. Normal brushing cannot remove these stains.
Treatment- Scaling followed by polishing and teeth whitening procedures are performed. But if you continue to smoke its impossible to stop or reverse it.
2. Bad Breath
After you finish with smoking, cigarette particles remain in the mouth which causes the breath to take on the characteristics of a cigarette. The longer-term effects of smoking also contribute to bad breath. There is an overgrowth of the harmful bacteria in the smoker`s mouth which leads to horrible breath.
Treatment- Use mouthwashes and brush twice a day to get rid of the smell. But the real way is to Stop Smoking.
3. Gum Disease
Smokers are more prone to gum diseases as compared to nonsmokers. Smoking leads to weakening of the gums and development of periodontal diseases.When smokers develop an infection of the gums, it’s less likely to bleed and so the diagnosis of the gum diseases can be delayed.
Your salivary glands may become inflamed and also raise the chance of leukoplakia, or white patches inside the mouth.If left untreated, gums can pull away from teeth and cause the underlying bone structures to weaken. The bone and tissue holding teeth in place break down causing teeth to fall out or be extracted.
The mouth of Heavy smokers doesn`t get a break long enough to heal and so the outcome is they lose their teeth early.
Treatment- Deep cleaning, Bone surgery, Grafting soft tissue, Flap surgery to remove tartar from pockets beneath the gums are the procedures being followed. Get your bite corrected and in case of tooth loss replace it with Implants.
4. Delayed Healing
Smoking not only increases your risk of things like tooth extraction and oral surgery but it also slows down your body`s ability to recover from these procedures. It also lowers the rate of successful implant procedures.
The more your mouth remains in such a vulnerable state, more it becomes prone to developing further complications.
5. Oral Cancer
Smokers are at higher risk of dying from oral cancer than those who have never smoked. The risk of dying from oral cancer increases with the amount smoked per day and it increases more when smoking is combined with heavy drinking.
The chemicals in tobacco cause genetic changes in cells of the mouth cavity which can lead to the development of oral cancer. Oral cancer begins as a white or red patch in the mouth accompanied by difficulty in chewing or swallowing, numbness in the jaw, and even pain in the ear. If these symptoms are for more than two weeks you should see a doctor because earlier the cancer is detected, more effective the treatment will be.
The best solution is to QUIT SMOKING!
Some people get embarrassed to come to the dentist when they smoke. They worry the hygienists and dentists will judge them for using nicotine. Dentists don’t want you to feel guilty either, and we don’t want to lecture you. We just want to make sure you’re doing everything to keep your mouth healthy, whatever that should be done.
We know it’s not easy to quit smoking. Many people have tried and failed to quit. But now many other alternatives are there like use of Nicotine chewing gums instead. Now E-cigarettes are also available as an alternative to smoking tobacco.
Apart from this the best method is to maintain your oral hygiene as much as you can with brushing, mouthwashes, floss daily. Keep visiting your dentist for regular checkups. In case of plaque and stains get them cleaned. Teeth whitening and veneers are commonly performed procedures in case of smoking stains.