Everyone has heard a couple of times that smoking is bad for your health. It could lead to many health conditions and in some cases, smoking could be fatal. However, the effects of smoking on oral health have not been emphasized as much as they should. We at Emerald Dental Surgery would like to highlight some of the effects of smoking on your oral health.
Smoking Causes Tooth discoloration
Staining is one of the effects of smoking on your teeth. This is because, just like the skin, teeth have pores. Once you smoke, nicotine and tar are easily absorbed into these pores. This could cause your teeth to start yellowing in a very short time. Smoking over a longer period of time will make the teeth almost brown. Most of the time, smokers will have some teeth darker than others which is as a result of the inhalation method.
Smoking Causes Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Often times, smokers have bad breath . In many cases, it’s very hard to get rid of this bad breath. Cigarettes contain certain chemicals. When these chemicals build up in your mouth, tar and nicotine are also deposited in the mouth. The chemicals end up sticking on the sides of your cheeks, on your teeth, the gums and the tongue thus causing bad breath.
Smoking also dries out your mouth and disrupts the flow of saliva, which is usually responsible for cleansing of your mouth. This leads to bacteria growth in your mouth that leads to bad odor.
It Leads To Gum (Periodontal) Disease
Smokers often produce bacterial plaque in the mouth. When the bacteria stays on your teeth for long and also gets under your gums, layers of plaque and tartar are formed. They build up and form gingivitis (early gum disease). When it gets worse you could end up getting periodontitis (severe gum disease) because your gums will start to pull away from your teeth and form spaces that could get infected. Smoking usually causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream that will hinder healing of the gums.
It causes tooth loss
Another effect of smoking on your oral health is tooth loss. Smoking makes gum disease progress faster. As a result, the bone and tissue that are responsible for holding of your teeth may become loose. As a result, your teeth will need to be pulled out.
Smoking Causes Poor Healing After Dental Work
People who often smoke develop dry sockets which refers to the poor healing of the tooth sockets after extraction of the teeth. This is usually very painful. Smokers will also experience a lot of pain after oral and gum surgery. In other cases whereby the smoker gets dental implants, the implants are usually less likely to integrate.
Smoking Increases Risk Of Oral Cancer
A lot of people link smokers to lung cancer. However, smoking is the leading cause of oral cancer. Oral cancer can occur in the gums, lips, tongue and inside the mouth. Some of the chemicals contained in cigarettes lead to or promote cancer. They are responsible for genetic changes in mouth cavity cells thus causing oral cancer. Use of tobacco further exposes the mouth to carcinogenic chemicals during the inhalation process.
It Causes Smoker’s Lips
Another common effect of smoking on your oral health is that it causes smoker’s lips, which is a condition whereby vertical wrinkles occur around the mouth. It also involves the lips and gums becoming hyperpigmented, meaning they become darker than their natural shade. The reduced blood flow and exposure to both nicotine and tar is responsible for this hyperpigmentation. The skin around the mouth could end up sagging and wrinkling. This is because nicotine causes blood vessels to shrink and narrow which starves the skin of oxygen and nutrients needed for skin to remain healthy.
It is therefore advisable for smokers to quit the habit. It is not easy to pull away from smoking, however, it is worth it for the sake of your oral health and general health of your body.
We hope we have given you some insight on the effects of smoking on your oral health. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is advisable to visit your dentist as soon as possible so that you receive the right treatment.
For any questions regarding this, contact us at Emerald Dental Surgery, Nairobi. You can call us on 0700609078 or 0731609078 to book an appointment.
Have a great week.