Smoking kills: from emphysema and other chronic pulmonary diseases to heart disease and lung cancer, everyone knows the risks that smoking poses to your health.
One harmful aspect of smoking and tobacco use that many overlook? Its potential to harm your oral health.
In Australia alone, it’s believed that about 59% of oral cancer cases are caused by or related to smoking. And the sad reality is, the longer one smokes, the more severe the effects and risks are for the smoker.
In addition to providing dental care, our Armadale dentist takes their obligation to educate seriously. And that includes informing you of the dangers that tobacco poses to your oral health.
If you’re thinking about kicking the habit, here are some of the risks you might end up avoiding!
6 ways smoking affects your oral health
To say that your mouth, teeth and gums are very important is a bit of an understatement.
That’s why you need to make it one of your top priorities to keep those parts strong and healthy at all times.
Smoking puts you at higher risk for gums, teeth and mouth diseases – many of the carcinogens in tobacco linger in your mouth, negatively affecting your teeth and gums.
(That’s why Australian cigarette containers feature pictures of rotting teeth, by the way!)
Plaque and bacteria often develop in the mouth of a smoker. But why’s that?
There are a couple of reasons:
- Smoking can cause your gums to recede
- Nicotine promotes the growth of cavity-causing biofilm
- Tobacco reduces your teeth’s resilience and strength
All of which can dramatically elevate your risk of tooth decay.
Left untreated, tooth decay can even reach deep layers of your teeth, causing a range of serious health problems that may require immediate attention from an emergency dentist in Armadale.
While nicotine is normally colourless, when it combines with oxygen, it takes on an ugly yellow colour – a colour that your teeth can take on after picking up a smoking habit!
One of the most visible signs of a smoker is their teeth. That’s because your teeth are just like your skin: they have pores. Nicotine and tar in tobacco can enter your teeth via these pores, resulting in yellow and brown stains developing over time.
And since these intrinsic stains are often deeper than surface-level, they can be impossible to remove with regular brushing or teeth whitening – in these cases, veneers might be the only way to get your shiny white smile back!
Research shows that smokers have significantly higher chances of losing their teeth.
One reason for this is the dramatically higher risk of tooth decay we mentioned above. In addition to cavities, smoking can also lead to gum problems.
In some cases, it can cause the gums to recede, exposing sensitive parts of the tooth (which further increases the risk of tooth decay) and weakening their bond with your mouth – two problems that contribute to tooth loss.
What’s the common denominator here? Smoking – just another reason to kick the habit (and to ask an Armadale dentist about what can be done to reverse this).
Smokers are often stereotyped as having bad breath. And, well, it’s true – tobacco stinks, so logically smoking the stuff every day is going to leave a bad smell in your mouth and throat.
Aside from cigarette smells however, cigarettes often contain various chemicals and ingredients that often cause bad breath.
Not only that, but tobacco also facilitates plaque buildup and cavities – two things that can come with incredibly strong smells if they aren’t brought under control.
With harmful chemicals that smoking brings into the body, such a habit can cause the immune system to weaken, thus making the body susceptible to infection, especially in the gums.
Did you know? Smokers face double the risk of gum disease compared to non-smokers.
That’s because the chemicals from tobacco can facilitate the growth of tartar – one of the leading causes of gum diseases like periodontitis and gingivitis.
And that in turn can cause your gums to recede, exposing more of your teeth and weakening their bond to your mouth (like we mentioned above).
It isn’t just your lungs that are at risk of developing cancer when you smoke – your mouth is also at risk.
Gums, cheeks, lips, throat… the carcinogens contained in tobacco can cause cancer in any part of your mouth.
And it isn’t just smoking, either – even chewing tobacco can increase your risk!
Will my oral health get better if I quit smoking today?
Good news: yes! But it isn’t automatic.
In many cases, it can take a lot of work, as well as specialised treatment and advice to reverse the effects that a lifetime of smoking can have on your teeth.
That’s why we recommend talking to an Armadale dentist when you make the decision to stop smoking!
Whether you’re just a starter or you’ve been smoking for years already, the earlier you quit smoking, the more likely you are to reduce the negative effects in your oral health like tooth decay, tooth loss, and oral cancer.
How can a visit to your local Armadale dental clinic help you improve your oral health?
When it comes to oral health matters – including smoking – it’s important that you consult a dentist in Armadale for dental.
Our advice and treatments can be used to improve your oral health and lessen the risks posed by your nicotine habit.
Your Armadale dentist can help you improve your oral health by:
- Probing your background about your tobacco use
- Reviewing your medical and health history during your dental visits
- Performing oral cancer checks
- Equipped you with an oral health routine to reverse the effects of prolonged tobacco use
- Performing regular dental checkups to monitor your progress
While we may not be able to reverse the damage caused, we can stop it from getting worse, and help you preserve your smile.
Take care of your oral health – call a dentist in Armadale today!
Whether you’re a longtime smoker or simply worried about how your teeth are looking, it’s important that you prioritise your oral health.
And that means enlisting the help of an Armadale dentist.
Our cosmetic dentists in Armadale are passionate about smiles, including yours. We’re ready to develop for you a custom oral health program that:
- Restores your teeth to their former state
- Make you comfortable with your smile once again
- Reverse the negative effects of years of smoking
And it all starts by getting in touch with our dental clinic in Armadale!