Most of us now know that smoking is bad for our health. It can cause various health problems including life threatening diseases like lung cancer. However, the effects of smoking on your oral health can be just as severe. How does smoking impact the appearance and health of your mouth and gums? Read on to learn more about smoking and your oral health.
Stained teeth is one ot the most common side effects of smoking
The nicotine and tar found in tobacco products can stain teeth in a very short period of time. Patients who are smokers most often complain about yellow staining on their teeth. Similarly, heavy smokers will often notice that teeth have turned brownish after years of smoking. Whitening toothpastes can help with the staining and thus improve the overall appearance of teeth. After all, a beautiful smile is one of the first things people notice. Help keep yours bright by visiting your dentist regularly and taking steps to quit smoking.
Smoking causes bad breath and dulls your sense of taste
We can all agree that bad breath is not an attractive quality. While many factors can contribute to bad breath, smoking has a big impact on your breath. Although mouthwashes and other breath-freshening products can alleviate the problem, they will not cure it.
The effects of smoking on your taste buds is also becoming better known. While scientists have long known that smoking dulls taste buds, recent studies suggest that it can kill them indefinitely. In a nutshell, the chemicals found in tobacco products interact with your tongue. This can cause taste buds to lose their shape and become flatter. So, while taste buds are still there, they just stop doing their job properly.
Smoking can also cause gum disease and tooth loss
Because smoking weakens your body’s immune system, it makes it harder to fight off gum infection. Gum disease is triggered by bacteria in your mouth that gets under your gums. This can lead to plaque and tartar build up, which in turn can lead to early gum disease known as gingivitis. In severe cases, tooth loss is possible.
The most severe side effect of smoking is mouth cancer
We already know that smoking can cause lung and throat cancer. However, smoking or chewing tobacco are also major causes of mouth (oral) cancer. According to Health Canada, the risk of oral cancer is about 5 to 10 times higher in smokers than in non-smokers. Oral cancer can be a life-threatening disease, especially if it is not detected early.
How your dentist can help
If you are a smoker, you should visit your dentist regularly. On top of examining teeth and gums, your dentist will check your tongue, cheeks and lips. This will help spot signs of more serious diseases sooner, which is key to proper treatment. Dentists will also be able to recommend treatments and medications to help you quit smoking.
Book your appointment now with one of Fortin Poirier’s five multidisciplinary dentists, who provide dental services in various languages.