How Smoking Affects your Dental Health

There’s a big mystery surrounding smoking. We all know it’s bad. It can cause emphysema, heart disease, stroke, and cancer of the lung and throat. The weird thing is people still do it. Yes, we also know that nicotine is to blame, as it’s the addictive substance found in cigarettes. But what makes you wonder is why start the habit in the first place when you know you can possibly get hooked into a habit that’s bad for you?

As if the above-mentioned ailments are not enough to make you quit this unhealthy habit, another thing that you should know about smoking is that it can take a toll on your dental health. It can give you bad breath, stain your teeth, cause inflammation of the salivary gland openings, increase buildup of plaque and tartar, increase risk of tooth loss, increase risk of leukoplakia (an infection characterized with white patches on the insides of the cheeks and on the tongue), bring gum disease, delay healing process in oral surgery and tooth extraction, and increase risk of oral cancer.

Smoking and Tooth Decay
As mentioned earlier, smoking increases plaque and tartar. Plaque is the layer of bacteria that cling onto the teeth’s surface. If not removed, it hardens and becomes tartar. These bacteria produce acids that eat up the enamel of the teeth. The enamel is the outer layer covering that protect the nerves. When the enamel is worn out, tooth decay and cavities result. This can eventually lead to tooth loss. Also, when the tartar along the gum line causes it to recede, it can expose the tooth root. It can also weaken the gums to the point that even a strong tooth can easily fall off.

Smoking, Teeth Stains and Bad Breath
Cigarettes contain nicotine and tar that can leave stains on your pearls. This is the reason why you’d often see smoker with yellowish teeth. Tar and nicotine can also be blamed for the “smoker’s breath”. These chemicals build up on the surfaces inside the mouth such as on the tongue, side of cheeks, and teeth. The buildup brings the foul odor. Also, smoking can dry the mouth and inhibit the flow of saliva. When there’s a low amount of saliva inside the mouth, bacteria are not neutralized and bad breath is the result. Moreover, smoking can also worsen gum disease and sinus problems such as the post-nasal drip, which can cause foul odor from the mouth.

Smoking and Gum Disease
Smoking interferes with the proper functioning of the cells in the gum tissue and thereby affecting the attachment of soft tissue and bone to the teeth. Not only that, the nicotine habit can also hinder blood flow to the gums making it more difficult to heal than usual. When these things happen, a smoker becomes more prone to periodontal disease.

Smoking and Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, about 90 percent of people who have oral cancer smoke tobacco. Smokers are six times at greater risk than nonsmokers in developing certain forms of cancer. These are due to the carcinogens found in cigarettes.

Now is the right time to kick your smoking habit. No matter how difficult it might be for you, if you put your mind into it, you can successfully quit this habit that is not doing any good for your health or of those around you.

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