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teeth and smoking

How Tobacco Usage Affects Your Oral Health

It isn’t new information that tobacco, in particular smoking, is damaging to our health. On top of the more obvious ailments that it can cause, tobacco can also create problems with your oral health, some much more serious than others.

Smoking cigarettes exposes your teeth to tobacco, tar and nicotine, an extremely addictive cocktail of chemicals. Breathing in this smoke results in stained, yellow teeth and is often accompanied by bad breath.

Although good tooth brushing and other helpful oral health habits, like flossing and using mouthwash can help, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the discoloured teeth and not-so-fresh breath at bay the longer you smoke. 

How can you combat tobacco effects?

Brushing several times a day can help to reduce staining and protect from gum disease, and some companies actually produce toothpaste specifically for those suffering from smoke-stained teeth. Toothpaste that helps to improve discolouration often include components such as baking soda, activated charcoal, coconut oil or even turmeric – all stain-removing ingredients, non-damaging to teeth when used correctly. 

For more severe staining, you may need something a little stronger to remove those blemishes. Some options include special Hygiene treatments, such as Airflow cleaning, or a tooth whitening system. 

To tackle that “smoker’s breath”, try an antibacterial mouthwash, chewing sugarless gum or scheduling a plaque removal appointment with your dentist. Bad breath because of smoking can also be a sign of the early stages of gum disease or decreased saliva production, so it’s best to get a dental exam booked in to make sure a more serious problem isn’t on the horizon.

Smoking can increase the risk of developing Gingivitis 

Gum disease, even in the early stages, called Gingivitis, is a cause for concern whether you smoke or not. It is an infection of the gum tissue, usually caused by plaque build-up. Smoking encourages the build-up of this tartar, a sticky film of bacteria, so smokers are more prone to developing gum disease than others. Gum bleeding, bad breath, red or swollen gums are just a few of the symptoms you might experience and in later stages, it can even affect your mouths’ ability to support your teeth – which leads to tooth loss and even damage to the jaw bone.

In the early stages, gum disease is treatable, so make sure you are visiting your dentist on a regular basis. They will be able to spot the signs and begin treatment quickly.

Since smoking weakens the immune system, it also becomes difficult for your body to fight infection, so gum or tooth infections will likely become a regular nuisance.  Keep an eye out for any swelling, redness, soreness or pain, and contact your dentist as soon as any symptoms of infection appear. 

Over 60% of Oral Cancers are linked to smoking

One of the most serious problems that can occur due to smoking is oral cancers. Around two thirds (over 60%) of mouth cancer cases are linked to smoking, as tobacco has been proven to increase your risk of developing cancers. In fact, smokers are up to ten times more likely to develop oral cancer than somebody who has never smoked. 

Overall, tobacco causes many negative effects on your oral health, from the inconvenient, to the potentially life-threatening. It’s important to take care of your oral health and visit your dentist often, particularly if you do smoke. 

We are able to provide many treatments that smokers may benefit from, including general exams, Airflow stain removal, tooth whitening and dental implants for those already suffering from the later stages of gum disease.

Get in touch with your local Oradent practice today to speak with a coordinator about which treatment may suit you best. 

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