It’s not news that cigarettes are bad for your health. Ever since the 1950s, smoking has taken a reputational hit. Nobody thinks of it as a harmless habit anymore.
For one thing, cigarettes are loaded with carcinogens. Each cigarette damages a person’s mouth, appearance, and health. It discolors teeth, causes stinky breath, and makes hair and clothing smell. It is a leading cause of lung cancer, can trigger asthma, and cause lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.
For another, smoking tobacco is incredibly addictive. Quitting for a committed smoker is likely one of the hardest things he or she will ever attempt. It may take several methods and attempts before being able to successfully quit smoking.
Tobacco and the Mouth
Not only does a person pay for their cigarettes when they purchase them, but they also pay much later, when they visit their dentist. Smoking introduces harmful toxins into the mouth, where carcinogens can directly enter the bloodstream and impact the body’s immune system or create other health problems.
Smoking is literally the single biggest cause of gum or periodontal disease. Because nicotine reduces blood flow, gum tissue can atrophy and lead to gum disease. And, without the necessary amount of red blood cells to heal properly, nicotine can impair the healing process throughout the body.
Nicotine also reduces saliva levels, causing dry mouth, which contributes to the development of cavities.
Smoking after a tooth extraction can lead to complications like dry socket, a condition in which the healing scab is pulled free by the sucking motion of inhaling on a cigarette.
Smokeless Tobacco Products
Some people say the chewing tobacco is less harmful than smoking, but that is far from true. Smokeless tobacco products can harm teeth and cause gums to recede.
Tobacco products are also the number one cause of oral cancers that can affect the lips, tongue, jawbone, cheeks, and face beside the structures in the throat, and lungs too. It is a major contributing factor to gum disease, as well as bone and tooth loss.
Tooth loss is the most noticeable result of smoking. Smokers and smokeless tobacco users are three to six times as likely to develop periodontal disease and ultimately lose teeth than nonsmokers. In one long-term study, smokers lost an average of three teeth in 10 years while nonsmokers lost just one in the same time frame. Researchers believe that use of tobacco was responsible for less oxygen in the blood, robbing gum tissue of proper nutrients. Others posited that smoking caused a chain-reaction of poor oral health consequences, starting with plaque buildup to cavities and gum disease, and finally tooth loss.
The good news is that some of the dental damage caused by tobacco is reversible, especially when accompanied with quitting smoking. Don’t put off going to the dentist if you’re a smoker. You compound your dental problems each time you flick that Bic.
If you live in the Pompano Beach area of South Florida, contact My Pompano Dentist by calling (954) 941-2412 or request an appointment online and see what can be done to save your teeth and reverse the damage already done.