If you or someone you know smokes, you might want to pay attention to this. The Center for Disease Control said that 15 out of every 100 adults smoke and that more than a third of smokers have at least three dental health problems. That’s a lot of people who are addicted to something that is hard to quit and bad for your health as a whole. Whether you smoke once in a while or a pack a day, you need to know that smoking is bad for your body, especially your mouth. Here are some facts about smoking, including how it affects your teeth and what you can do to stop it.
What Happens to Your Teeth When You Smoke?
Here are a few ways that smoking can hurt your teeth:
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Smoking often causes gum disease because it weakens the immune system, which makes it harder to fight gum infections. Gum disease, one of the main reasons adults lose teeth, usually worsens faster in people who smoke.
Tooth Decay and Cavities
People who smoke tend to have more plaque and tartar buildup and a dry mouth, two of the main reasons for tooth decay. Also, gum disease can lead to a recession of the gums, which puts the tooth roots at risk of decay and in need of root canal therapy.
People who smoke often have stained and discoloured teeth. Some long-time smokers have teeth that look almost brown. That happens because the tar and nicotine in cigarettes stain things.
Using tobacco products leaves a very bad smell in the mouth. It also leads to the buildup of plaque and tartar, swollen salivary glands, gum disease, and dry mouth, all of which cause bad breath.
Everyone knows that smoking causes lung cancer, but many people don’t know that smoking also raises the risk of oral cancer, killing thousands of people yearly. Oral cancer has a good chance of being cured if it is found early and treated right away.
Healing Takes Longer
Smoking lowers the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream and slows down the immune system, which slows down healing in the mouth. That can make it hard for dental procedures like dental implants and bridges to work.
How Often Do I Need to Go to the Dentist?
It’s important to see your dentist regularly for a regular checkup and a full mouth exam to catch any other problems early. It would be best if you went to the dentist as often as they tell you to. People who smoke are more likely to get stained teeth, so they may need to see a dental hygienist more often.
What Can a Dentist Do for My Teeth?
Your dentist will check your teeth, gums, and whole mouth regularly to make sure they are healthy. Your dental team will also look at your cheeks, tongue, and throat for signs of other conditions that may need more investigation. They might also put you in touch with organizations and self-help groups with the latest information to help you stop smoking.
Will I Need Any Special Care?
Your dentist may also send you to a dental hygienist for extra treatment, a more thorough cleaning, or to keep a closer eye on the health of your mouth. Your dentist can tell you how often you should see them, but it should be every three to six months at the very least.