You’re likely aware of how smoking cigarettes affects your lungs, but the effects of smoking begin with your teeth and gums.
According to the CDC, 13% of the American population smokes cigarettes. For decades the Surgeon General has warned people that smoking is bad for their health. Most people recognize that smoking isn’t good for your lungs, but what about your teeth?
Your mouth is the first point of entry into your body. Smoking immediately begins taking a toll on the appearance and health of your teeth and gums. Therefore, the best thing you can do is quit smoking.
How Smoking Affects Your Teeth and Gums
Cigarette smoking creates various problems and is the leading cause of preventable disease. Some of these diseases include diseases of the mouth. Here are some of the most common effects smoking has on your teeth and gums.
Smoking causes tooth discoloration.
A person that smokes a pack of cigarettes a day is giving up the possibility of maintaining naturally white teeth. Your teeth are like a porcelain vase. The enamel acts just like a porcelain finish, with fine cracks. Those cracks absorb what you put in your mouth. This is a natural part of the aging process. But when you smoke, the tar and nicotine seep into the cracks and become permanent. You cannot simply brush it away. You will continuously require whitening treatments to maintain a bright smile.
Smoking causes tooth loss.
A heavy smoker has a decreased chance of preserving their teeth. Everything that holds your teeth in place suffers when you smoke. You might be tempted to think you can simply get a dental implant if you lose a tooth. But tooth implants require a healthy jawbone. If you’re losing teeth because of eroding bone and tissue, you will not have a healthy enough jaw for implants.
Smoking delays the healing process.
Cigarette smoking reduces the oxygen in your bloodstream. Oxygen is essential for healing. When you develop an oral disease or condition that requires a surgical procedure like a root canal, tooth extraction, or implants, your recovery time will take longer. Smokers are also at a greater risk of infection because their gums may not correctly be able to heal.
Smoking increases your likelihood of gum disease.
The most common cause of tooth loss in adults is gum disease. Gum disease progresses faster in heavy smokers. Not only will a smoker lose some of their teeth, but dental implant procedures are typically less successful. While some people are genetically more susceptible to gum disease, smoking increases their odds exponentially.
Signs of Gum Disease
If you are a chronic smoker, it’s essential to understand and know the signs of gum disease. These symptoms include:
- Excessive bleeding when brushing
- Gums that pull away from teeth
- Red and swollen gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose teeth
- Painful chewing or biting
While smoking certainly has an adverse effect on your teeth, the most detrimental impact occurs on the gums and jawbone holding your teeth in place. The best thing you can do for your oral and overall health is quit smoking! Contact The Dental Anesthesia Center if you suffer from gum disease or other oral health-related issues.
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