It’s not a secret that smoking is hazardous to your health, but did you know that includes your oral health too? Beyond lung cancer and emphysema, smoking can cause less obvious changes that can have a negative impact on your teeth and gums.
Bad breath: This one is a little obvious but there is no mistaking the telltale odor of a smoker’s breath and mints and gum can’t cover it up. Although not a health issue in itself, it could have a negative social impact.
Discolored teeth: Just as smoke causes stains around a wood-burning fireplace, smoking can deposit nicotine stains on your teeth causing them to look yellow or brown. If left untreated, over time these stains can integrate into small cracks in the tooth’s enamel and become permanent.
Build up of plaque and tartar: Chemicals in cigarette smoke actually accelerate the accumulation of plaque and tartar on your teeth, leading to discoloration, cavities and gum disease.
Bone/Tissue Loss: Smokers are three to six times more likely to suffer from gum and bone loss caused by periodontal disease than non-smokers.
Leukoplakia: These thickened white patches that form on gums cannot be scraped off are often found near areas of oral cancer and usually only found in the mouths of tobacco users.
Oral Cancer: 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States are caused by cancer. Although lung cancer is the form most often associated with smoking, 13,500 deaths each year are attributed to oral cancer.
Periodontal disease: Around 75% of all cases of periodontal disease are found in patients who smoke; but the smokers aren’t the only ones at risk. Recent studies have shown that breathing second-hand smoke can put non-smokers at a higher risk for gum disease.
So what makes smoke so bad? Each puff contains at up to 70 known carcinogens like acetone, lead, butane and arsenic. Introducing these to your body through your mouth allows the deposit of harmful chemicals that are not fit for human consumption. If you are a smoker or use other tobacco products, routine dental visits are crucial to maintaining your overall health. Even if you have already quit smoking, contact Dr. DeAndrade to assess the condition of your gums and teeth today. Your smile will thank you.