The Negative Impact of Smoking on Your Oral Health

The Negative Impact of Smoking on Your Oral Health

Feb 01, 2022

Research has proven that smokers are more predisposed to oral issues like tooth loss and gum disease and have high chances of developing oral cancer and tooth removal complications. Smoking also interferes with the wound healing process, explaining why smokers do not heal as fast as non-smokers do. Quitting smoking has been shown to lower the risk for gum disease, oral cancer and improve one’s response to gum treatment.

Bad Breath and Stained Teeth Concerning Smoking

If you are a smoker, the American Dental Association recommends that you make regular visits to a dental clinic for professional teeth cleaning and oral check-up. It will allow early identification of dental problems, thus maintaining strong teeth and healthy gums. Failure to do this will result in bad breath and stained teeth due to accumulating tobacco chemicals in the oral cavity every time you smoke.

Impact of Smoking on Your Oral Health

Below is a list of oral problems that commonly affect smokers. They are:

  • Bad breath and stained teeth
  • Periodontal disease
  • Dental decay
  • Teeth loss
  • Smoker’s keratosis (whitening of the oral soft tissues)
  • Mouth cancer
  • Decreased taste
  • Bad taste in the mouth

Root Causes for Periodontal Disease

Gum disease is an oral infection that destroys bone tissue that holds teeth firmly. At late stages, gum disease causes you to become loose and fall out, compromising your chewing abilities.

When bacteria and food debris are left to accumulate, it forms dental plaque, leading to gum disease. If the plaque on teeth and gums is not removed, it hardens into calculus, also known as tartar. The tartar and plaque cause gum irritation, primarily seen in people who smoke.

Did you know the risk for periodontal disease is five times more in heavy smokers than non-smokers and is also higher in an individual who smokes less than ten cigarettes in 24 hours than who doesn’t smoke?

If you happen to be a smoker, you may experience gum disease that might be harder to detect. Bleeding gums, a common sign of gum disease, may not show since tobacco products cause poor blood supply to oral tissues and gums. You may also not respond to the treatment as well as a non-smoker.

A person who is a heavy smoker and also uses alcohol is likely to develop severe gum disease and acute ulcerative gingivitis, which is a condition that results in a foul smell and taste.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Pus discharge from the gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Gums that pull away from teeth

Smoking and Oral Cancer

Oral cancer refers to cancer affecting the mouth and tissues, including the tongue, lips, cheeks, roof, and floor of the oral cavity. According to oral health experts, persons who drink alcohol and smoke are at a greater risk of oral cancer than persons who just do one of the two.

When it comes to oral cancer prognosis, early detection is essential since treatment will start early before the cancer cells spread to other body parts or advance to worse stages. You can get an oral cancer check-up at Neeshat Khan DDS from our dentist in 95129, West San Jose.

Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and oral surgery in West San Jose are the treatment choices for mouth cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Presence of red/white patches in the mouth
  • Having dentures that are suddenly not fitting in the mouth properly
  • Swelling in the mouth
  • Presence of a persistent painless ulcer that has been there for more than 7-10 days

Should you notice any of these signs, make sure you visit a doctor or a dentist immediately.

Preventing Gum and Teeth Problems in People Who Smoke

If you happen to be a smoker, the following tips will help you avoid gum and tooth issues.

The first tip for a healthier mouth is to stop smoking. It can be pretty challenging, especially if you have smoked for years, but you can start by reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke daily.

Brush your teeth and gums at least twice a day and use fluoride-containing toothpaste.

Visit a dentist at least once every six months.

Since smoking is associated with a dry mouth, increase your water intake and stimulate saliva flow by chewing sugar-free gum.

Avoid recreational drugs and lower your alcohol intake.

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