It’s common knowledge that smoking can lead to serious health problems such as lung and throat cancer, but did you know that tobacco use can also have a huge impact on your oral health? Using tobacco of any kind, whether it be chewing, cigarettes, or smoking from a pipe, can create nearly irreversible effects on your oral health.
Some common problems associated with smoking and your oral health include bone loss, gum disease, plaque and tartar buildup, halitosis, and the notorious discoloration, “yellowing” of the teeth. These issues may result in the need for dental insurance, or asking about company plans. These are just some of the many effects smoking has on your teeth.
Smoking effects the gums by inhibiting the regular functions of the gum tissues, as well as affects the bone attachment and soft tissues in the mouth. Over time the blood flow responsible for healing will become impaired and the mouth will become more amenable to infections. All of these issues combined makes smokers more susceptible to periodontal disease, or “gum disease.”
It is estimated that 35,000 patients will be diagnosed with some form of oral cancer in the United States. The odds of developing cancer is stacked against tobacco users, with an estimated 90% of oral cancer patients having been regular tobacco users (whether from pipes, cigarettes, cigars, or other smoking apparatuses.) In fact, statistics from the American Cancer Society show that smokers are 6 times more likely to develop cancer of the tongue, mouth, lips, or throat, than that of a non-smoker.
Issues with Dental Procedures
Not only does smoking make your teeth look bad, it also effects your recovery from dental procedures. This happens because of the weakened healing capabilities, causing an extended recovery time post-surgery. Persistent smoking can also lead to repeated tooth decay and complete loss of teeth.
Those hoping to curb these oral health issues by using smokeless tobacco should know that they are still at risk. Smokeless tobacco products contain many chemicals that affect the esophagus, mouth, and throat, and may cause receding of the gums.
Protect your mouth against disease and unwanted issues by maintaining good oral health, brushing and flossing daily, having regular dental checkups, and conquering the habit of tobacco use.