You probably know by now that smoking is bad for your health. From the possibility of developing lung cancer to an increased risk of stroke, inhaling nicotine multiple times a day is hard on your body. While health researchers frequently publish information about the health dangers associated with smoking, fewer people are aware of the effect that smoking has on oral health.
Tobacco’s Impact on Oral Health Goes Beyond Appearance Concerns
Maybe your teeth have already turned an unattractive shade of yellow or brown due to smoking and you feel embarrassed about it. You could realize that smoking gives you bad breath and chew on mints throughout the day to ensure your breath isn’t offensive to others. If the mints contain sugar, you risk tooth decay from the continued exposure.
The good news when you have cosmetic concerns about the appearance of your teeth is that you have several options available to treat them. Teeth whitening, for example, is a popular cosmetic dentistry procedure that covers up tooth staining by bleaching the teeth with a special type of peroxide. However, other oral health problems caused by smoking aren’t as easy to fix.
Oral Health Concerns Linked to Smoking
The longer you smoke, the greater your chance of developing cancer on the inside or outside of your mouth. Tumors in your mouth often grows slowly, which means that you may not even know you have developed one until you have reached the later stages of cancer when it is less curable. At Southbridge Dentistry, our dentists check for signs of oral cancer at every preventive care exam.
Smoking can also lead to gum disease or the loss of your natural teeth due to extensive decay. Tooth extraction and replacement can be a long process that could cost you a lot of money depending on your dental insurance coverage.
Smoking also contributes to the development of gum disease because your mouth produces more bacterial plaque. Due to the reduced oxygen level in your bloodstream, your gums cannot heal from exposure to bacteria as efficiently as they could if you didn’t smoke. People who smoke tend to develop gum disease faster than non-smokers and it is often more severe as well. Advanced gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in the United States.
What You Can Do to Reduce the Effects of Smoking on Oral Health
The best thing you can do for your physical and oral health is to stop smoking as soon as possible. We understand that can be challenging and encourage you to take advantage of all resources available to you. Many health insurance plans offer free smoking cessation classes to help reduce their own claims-related expenses.
If you’re not able to quit cold turkey, you can take steps in the meantime to reduce the damage to your teeth and gums. For example, invest in toothpaste made for smokers that helps to remove more plaque and prevent discoloration. You may also want to use mouthwash regularly instead of chewing mints.
Finally, be sure to schedule a routine check-up and exam with Southbridge Dentistry every six months. You can request an appointment here or call our office at (303) 798 – 4967 and we will follow up to schedule an appointment convenient for you.