You may have heard slogans and seen various campaigns about “quit smoking and defeat cancer”, all explaining the fact that how fatal smoking is to our health or lungs. However, the effects of smoking start with your mouth. Tobacco usage in any form can cause substantial harm to your mouth.
Everyone is pretty much aware of the harmful effects of smoking on one’s overall health. While the number of individuals who smoke is decreasing, there are still far too many fatalities caused due to smoking each year. What most people don’t consider, though, is how smoking harms your dental health. It’s not only about discoloured teeth or terrible breath. It goes far beyond that.
It’s true that quitting smoking or to discontinue using tobacco might be tough. Even if you’ve attempted it previously, chances are you didn’t abide by it. By not quitting cigarettes, you’re causing even more harm to your oral as well as overall health.
Unfortunately, the longer you smoke the more harm you’re likely to cause. However, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of preventing or even reversing some of the effects tobacco has on your teeth.
Tobacco has a number of negative effects on your teeth. Cigarettes reduce your mouth’s capacity to fight illness, leaving you vulnerable to the germs that smoking produces. Plaque and germs thrive when your mouth is unable to defend itself. Plaque and bacteria buildup causes a slew of oral health problems.
Let’s have a look at some of the common yet serious oral problems that smoking can cause which might help to strengthen your determination to quit smoking.
Discoloration of the teeth
Most individuals are aware that smoking may quickly transform your dazzling whites into not-so-whites. Even if you don’t smoke a pack a day, regular tobacco usage can cause your teeth to become stained. If you smoke a lot, you’re more likely to detect tooth yellowing soon. How stained your teeth get is influenced by how much you smoke and how long you smoke cigarettes or use tobacco products.
With smokers nowadays, the old adage “your breath stinks like an ashtray” rings true. Cigarette particles stay in the mouth long after a cigarette has been extinguished, giving the breath a cigarette-like flavour.
Furthermore, smoking’s long-term consequences add to poor breath. Bad breath is caused by an excess of germs in the smoker’s mouth. Unfortunately, no amount of brushing or mouthwash gargling can remove the odour, which is caused by gum disease, oral sores, and decay.
The only way to get things back on track is to quit smoking completely and see your dentist to treat the underlying concerns. Smoking for a long time can cause inflammation of the salivary glands, which can cause severe swelling in the face and necessitate surgery if salivary gland stones form.
Tobacco and its smoke can ignite major oral health problems, although most people associate them with oral cancer and gum disease. While these are important factors to consider, few individuals relate smoking and tobacco use to the types of tooth decay that dentists encounter in their patients.
Large cavities along the gum line can lead to infections and fragile teeth, which can lead to future breakage. Fractured teeth will need to be fixed, which may be costly and unpleasant in many circumstances.
Periodontal disease, often known as gum disease, is a bacterial illness that affects your mouth. This infection has an effect on the gums over time. Periodontal disease will most likely be visible at first if you have bleeding gums, a generally uncomfortable mouth, and easily inflamed red gums.
The periodontal disease might also show up as receding gums in rare circumstances. While periodontal disease can often be rectified if you visit your dentist at the right time, prolonged smoking and tobacco use can exacerbate the situation.
If periodontal disease is left untreated for too long, the infection can spread to surrounding tissue and bone, weakening it. If periodontal disease is not treated and the infection is not resolved, bone loss can occur over time.
In extreme situations, periodontal disease might progress to the point where bone destruction necessitates surgical intervention. In certain circumstances, bone transplants and corrective surgery are necessary.
Tooth loss is frequently not far behind when the periodontal disease enters your mouth. This is because when the gums weaken, they will not be effective enough to hold the teeth in place. You’ll normally notice a greater rate of deterioration owing to infection if there’s periodontal disease.
Regrettably, the sad fact for smokers does not finish there. Smoking not only raises your risk of tooth extraction and oral surgery but also decreases your body’s capacity to heal from these treatments. It also reduces the success percentage of dental implant operations.
The longer time your mouth spends in a susceptible state, the more prone you are to acquiring subsequent difficulties. A dentist can help as much as they can, but treatment programs are only as effective as the patient’s willingness to quit smoking.
Oral cancer is the most serious kind of smoking-related mouth problem. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, over 50,000 persons in the United States are identified with oral cancer each year, with smokers accounting for roughly 80% of those diagnosed. When smoking is paired with heavy drinking, the chance of developing mouth cancer rises.
Oral cancer manifests itself first as a white or red patch in the mouth, followed by trouble in chewing or swallowing, numbness in the jaw, and even earache. While there are other possible explanations for similar symptoms, the National Institutes of Health advises that anybody experiencing them for more than two weeks consult a doctor. Treatment will be more successful if cancer is found early.
The Most Effective Option
Again, a dentist can create a treatment strategy to help lessen the effects of smoking, but the only way to totally eliminate them is to quit smoking. Smoking may impact many aspects of your body, including your teeth, and quitting can assure a healthy life for decades to come.
Steps that might help you quit smoking
Quitting smoking is not a matter of a single day and though it might sound easy those who have already walked this path would vouch for that it’s certainly not an easy process. Quitting smoking involves a lot of effort, dedication, accountability, and willpower.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a plethora of information about quitting smoking, including suggestions, methods, and how to stay on track. They also offer a five-step approach to help you stop:
- Get prepared and decide on which date you are planning to quit once and for all.
- Depend On Your Support System. Seek the aid of your friends, family, and medical experts.
- Distract yourself from the impulse to smoke by focusing on something else (exercise, hobby, etc.).
- Medicate Only When Necessary. Discuss the advantages of utilising prescription or over-the-counter drugs with your doctor.
- Recognize setbacks, accept responsibility for them, try to overcome them, and keep going.
It’s not a question of how long smoking will harm your teeth and oral health; it’s a question of when.
And while smoking is the numero uno avoidable cause of death and disease in the US, the route to quit smoking is a painful one. Remember that your dental experts are there to assist you with most oral health issues.
With daily visits, your dental hygienists can assist you in developing a plan to begin the quitting procedure while also serving as an important part of the support system you’ll require.
Brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis may certainly benefit your smile. You are in charge of the maintenance of your oral health. It all starts with putting down the cigarette and embracing health.