It’s long been known that smoking can impact your dental health as well as your overall health. Not only has smoking tobacco been linked to oral cancer, along with other types of cancer in the body, but it can affect the health of your teeth and gums. Even if you’re using substances that some argue to be safer, such as marijuana or e-cigarettes, smoking still impacts your oral health. Here’s how.
Smokers Have a Higher Risk of Gum Disease
One of the major oral health impacts of smoking is that it can cause periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Smoking does this in a few ways. Not only can smoking lead to more plaque, which can build up around your gum tissue and cause an infection, but it impacts your body’s immune system . As a result, it’s not as easy for your body to fight the bacteria involved in gum disease.
Since smoking also impacts how fast your body heals, this also means that any treatments you receive for periodontal disease may not be as successful. Another major issue with smoking is that it restricts blood flow to the oral cavity, which means smokers may not have many of the signs of early gum disease, such as gum bleeding. Smokers may not realize they have gum disease until the condition has become more severe.
Tobacco Use Can Discolor Teeth
It’s well documented that smoking stains teeth. The many chemicals and substances in cigarettes and tobacco products, namely nicotine and tar, can cause deep, set-in stains and cause teeth to turn yellow or even brown over time.
Smokers are not only more likely to have discolored teeth, but they are generally less happy with their smiles than those who don’t smoke . Although a professional teeth whitening can help lighten your smile, sometimes these deeper stains never fully go away.
Smoking Increases Your Chances of Tooth Loss
Since smoking increases your risk of severe gum disease, it also increases your chances of tooth loss . Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss among adults. When your gum tissue is infected and the ligaments that hold your teeth in place are weakened, teeth can become loose and fall out.
Teeth can also fall out or need to be extracted due to cavities, and smoking may also increase your risk for tooth decay as well . Whether from gum disease or tooth decay, smoking makes tooth loss more likely for smokers.
Don’t Compromise Your Oral Health
Smoking is a leading preventable cause of oral health issues. Whether you’re a recreational smoker or a daily smoker, there’s never been a better time to quit. Ask your dentist about starting your quitting journey today, not to just protect your smile but your overall health as well!