Smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products have a long list of negative health consequences — including for your dental health.
Here are some of the biggest ways smoking and consuming other tobacco products can harm your mouth.
1. Encourages Plaque and Tartar Growth
Cigarettes have numerous chemicals, some of which reduce the flow of saliva in your mouth. This makes it harder for your mouth to clean itself and subsequently easier for bacteria and plaque to get onto your teeth.
As a result, tartar can form on your teeth, and you could eventually develop tooth damage or gum disease.
When the latter is left untreated, it can eventually cause teeth to fall out and even lead to jawbone damage.
Smokeless products like chewing tobacco aren’t any better. These can loosen gums around the teeth, creating little pockets for bacteria to live in.
2. Weakens Circulation
Smoking weakens your immune system, according to the CDC. It also can interfere with blood flow to the gum tissue. A weaker immune system and less circulation makes it harder to fight off infections of your gums.
Additionally, once your gums are damaged, smoking hampers their ability to heal. This can make issues like gum disease progress faster.
Smoking also delays and makes harder the healing process after oral surgery for the same reasons.
3. Negatively Affects Breath
Smoking can worsen breath for two reasons.
The most obvious reason is that the smell of smoke stays on your breath after smoking.
However, smoking dries out your mouth. Aside from the negatives of a dry mouth (more bacteria and plaque), you can develop chronic bad breath — known as halitosis.
Lastly, as mentioned earlier, smoking can contribute to gum disease. Gum disease is known to affect breath as well.
4. Discolors Teeth
Smoking worsens the look of your teeth, too, by making them turn yellow. The nicotine and tar in cigarettes seep through tiny pores in your enamel, leading to this discoloration.
Chewing tobacco can stain your teeth even darker since the dark-colored tobacco mixes with your saliva.
Lastly, smoking can contribute greatly to the development of oral cancer — cancer of the mouth, throat, or lips. In fact, about 90% of people with oral cancer are smokers.
If you do smoke, take extra care to brush twice a day, floss, and use mouthwash. Visit your dentist regularly as well for cleanings and exams. Do your best to quit, or, if not possible, at least cut back as well — it will improve your oral and overall bodily health.
If you’re looking for a top-rated dentist in Philadelphia, schedule an appointment with Absolute Smile. All new patients get a free consultation, so contact us today!