Smoking is the leading cause of many health problems such as cancers in the lung and throat. You may also be surprised to know that smoking tobacco and other tobacco products can affect your oral health. Many that use tobacco products will likely be aware of the superficial effects but there are also some serious dental health problems that can even put your life in danger. It’s fair to say then that not only your health care provider but also your dentist will want to see you quit smoking.
What Effects Will Smoking Have On My Oral Health?
One obvious change to your teeth is that tobacco products will stain them. Tar and nicotine leave a yellow color on the surface of your teeth. These substances build up over time and darkening the staining to a brown color.
Particles from tobacco smoke will attach to the teeth and other soft tissue inside the mouth. When bacteria mix with these particles they create the same scent as tobacco smoke causing bad breath.
The American Academy of Periodontology found that tobacco use was the most significant risk factor in the development and progression of gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease. It found that smokers and those that use smokeless tobacco are two to 6 times more likely to get gum disease, depending on the amount of use. This is partly due to the increased levels of plaque that smoking encourages. This then leads to infection in the gum line. Smoking also makes it difficult to treat gum disease. Smoking lowers the oxygen levels in the blood affecting the healing process.
Advanced periodontal disease often causes tooth loss. Infection in the gums can deteriorate the part of the jawbone that holds your teeth in place. Once weakened your teeth can become loose and possibly fall out. Gum disease has also been linked to other health conditions such as complications in pregnancy, strokes, heart attacks, osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Smoking is Linked With Oral Cancer
Smoking and smokeless tobacco are serious risk factors in developing oral cancer. At least 75% of oral cancers are found in those that use tobacco. In an average year, thousands of people die from oral cancer because of smoking. This is the most serious consequence of smoking that you should consider.
Your Dentist Can Help
Smokers should visit the dentist regularly to check their oral health. Visits to the hygienist should be done more frequently as teeth will need deep cleaning more often and plaque increases faster. The dentist needs to see that teeth and gums are healthy. If the dentists find any irregularities they may refer you for a biopsy. A small tissue sample will be taken for analysis to see if it is cancerous. The surgeons at California Oral and Facial Surgery perform such biopsies. Their office is found in Alameda, CA providing service for all those on the island and the surrounding communities. Book an appointment now.