At this point, almost everyone knows that smoking is bad for them. Doctors advise against it, kids are taught to avoid cigarettes in school, and governments tax tobacco products to minimize the appeal of purchasing them. Most people can readily draw a connection between tobacco and lung cancer, but did you know there are actually many ways smoking can negatively impact your health? Along with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease, smoking and chewing tobacco can wreak havoc on the overall health of your mouth. Today, we’re looking at some of the ways smoking negatively impacts your mouth, and some of the facts might surprise you!
1. Increased Risk of Oral and Throat Cancer
Lung cancer isn’t the only cancer you’re more likely to develop from tobacco products! In fact, 90% of people who develop oral cancer use tobacco products, and a full third of all cancer diagnoses in the United States are linked to tobacco. Even smokeless products—such as snuff and chewing tobacco—contain 28 cancer-causing chemicals that can mutate your cells and harm your body. Avoiding tobacco altogether is the best way to help prevent yourself from developing this deadly disease.
2. Stained Teeth
The tar and nicotine in tobacco products quickly cause teeth to yellow. Heavy, long-term smokers often find their teeth brown in appearance after years of exposure to tobacco. While there are a few brands of toothpaste formulated for smokers, the stains that set in from tobacco are difficult to remove at home and often require professional whitening treatments to combat, which can be expensive.
3. Increased Risk of Gum Disease
Smokers are more likely to produce bacterial plaque, which builds upon the teeth repeatedly and can turn to tartar. Eventually, the gums will become inflamed and infected in a condition known as gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis will develop into gum disease and could lead to tooth loss. Smoking decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood, which means it’s harder for the body to fight infections, compacting gum disease issues. Chewing tobacco also irritates the gums, causing them to recede and expose the roots of your teeth, which can be painful and leads to an increased risk of decay.
4. Bad Breath
The constant inhalation of smoke and chemicals instantly alters breath, and the bad smell can linger for hours after smoking. Over time, habitual smoking can cause bad breath that sticks around even after brushing. The only way to combat the bad breath associated with smoking is to quit altogether.
Smoking is highly addictive and can be devastating to a person’s health. Quitting is rarely easy, but the first step towards kicking the habit is often speaking to a medical professional about your desire to quit. Your dentist may be able to provide you with resources to help you quit or help you develop a course of action to overcome the addiction.
If you have questions about how smoking is impacting you or if you would like to talk to your dentist about quitting to improve your health, give us a call at Trublu Dentistry in Chicago, Burbank, or Hegewisch today!