Nearly 15% of the population of the United States smokes. Thankfully the number has decreased over the years, but that is still a large percentage of the country.
What does smoking do to your teeth?
Tobacco damages your teeth in many different ways. But basically, it limits your mouth’s ability to fight infection, this then leaves you defenseless against bacteria that is created when you smoke. Which leads to plaque and bacteria growth.
One of the most obvious signs of a smoker is stained or yellow teeth. This is caused by the chemicals in tobacco clinging to your teeth. Over time this will cause your teeth to stain. While teeth whitening will help slow the effects of smoking, long term there is nothing you can do to stop or reverse severe stains, except to stop smoking before it happens.
This is a common issue that comes with smoking because cigarette particles remain in your mouth long after you are done smoking. This leads to your breath smelling like cigarettes. Bad breath is also from the bacteria that build up because of smoking. Or because smoking is so hard on your mouth, the bad breath could also be from gum disease, sores, and decay. Continual smoking is almost impossible to negate, the best thing to do is stop and talk to your dentist.
People that smoke have double the chance of developing gum disease, and these chances go up with every cigarette. The treatments for gum disease don’t work nearly as well on someone who smokes. The reason for all of this is because smoking weakens the ability of your mouth to fight off bacteria, and this means that the bacteria will build up on your teeth and gums. This can cause tooth loss and even bone loss. Even if you have great oral health care habits, it can’t undo the effects of smoking.
The worst effect of smoking is oral cancer. Every year 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer and 80% of those are smokers. Smoking and heavy drinking are the largest causes of mouth cancer. Usually, it will begin with red or white patches in your mouth and difficulty chewing or swallowing. There are many other symptoms. If you smoke, you should be visiting the dentist regularly and having them check for cancer.
Make sure that you are visiting your dentist often if you are smoking, and they will put together a plan to help mitigate as many of the issues as possible. However you need to stop smoking to avoid these issues and this will not only help your oral health, but also the rest of your body.