Most people, whether they smoke or not, are aware of the harmful risks associated with smoking and tobacco use. In fact, the surgeon general’s warning on commercial tobacco products states that their use causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and pregnancy complications. However, most people are not aware that smoking also plays a huge role in the health of their teeth, gums and mouth. In fact, studies have shown that smoking is one of the biggest risk factors in the development of periodontal (gum) disease and the biggest overall predictor of oral cancer.
With that in mind, we want to talk to you today about the reasons why smoking is harmful to your oral health. At Spring Valley Dental Care, we take our patients health very seriously and do regular screenings and exams to check for signs of gum disease, infection and cancer. If you’re ready for your next checkup, schedule with our office today. Otherwise, read on to find out the top reasons smoking is detrimental to your dental health.
3 Top Reasons Smoking is Dangerous to Your Oral Health
- Smoking leads to a buildup of plaque that eventually hardens into tartar and erodes gum tissue. Calculus (tartar) is hardened, calcified plaque that can only be removed with special dental tools and is particularly harmful because it wears down gum tissue and creates open pockets between teeth and gums where bacteria can fester. All in all, smoking leads to poor dental hygiene and contributes to the decay and yellowing of teeth.
- Chemicals and toxins in cigarettes (mainly nicotine), interfere with blood flow in the mouth making it easier for bacteria to flourish and harder for wound healing to occur. Nutrients are delivered to damaged or inflamed tissues via the blood vessels, but when they are constricted, these nutrients, including oxygen, can’t get to the site of the problem. This leads to chronic infections with no easy remedy.
- The chemicals in cigarettes lead to damage and inflammation of the soft tissue in the mouth. This includes gum, palate and cheek tissue and is the main reason why oral cancer is so prevalent in smokers. Inflammation is caused by free radicals which damage cells in the mouth leading to abnormalities and, eventually, cancer.
Some Signs and Symptoms of Damage Caused by Smoking
If you’re unsure whether or not your smoking has begun to damage your teeth, keep in mind that it may take years for side effects to show up, and by then you may need serious dental work to fix them. However, if you have any of the signs or symptoms below, we highly recommend making an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.
- Yellowing or browning of teeth
- Bleeding gums, especially when flossing
- Build up of tartar
- Tooth decay
- Frequent or chronic dry mouth
- Pain and infection on teeth
- Damaged tooth enamel
- Loose teeth
Worried Smoking is Harming Your Mouth?
Safe to say, the risks involved with smoking are high, and evenly deadly. The best solution to the issues above is to simply stop smoking. However, at Spring Valley Dental Care, we know just how hard quitting can be as we see patients daily involved in this struggle. There is no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed during your visits and we strive to make each patient feel comfortable and safe during appointments. Dr. Boyer and his team are equipped with many options and solutions to care for your gums and teeth, regardless of lifestyle factors such as smoking.
If you’re teeth and gums are in need of some extra TLC, don’t hesitate to call our offices today at 619-670-4471 or click here for more information on our services.