Believe it or not, smoking does a lot of damage to a smoker’s mouth, gums and teeth, among other things. Smoking is the root cause of many dental problems worldwide. Here is a list of the various ways in which smoking ruins your oral health:
- Tooth Stains
Smoking ruins the appearance of your teeth. This is because, smoking causes black stains or overall tooth discoloration. You may see some improvement with tooth whitening toothpastes or other whitening products, but the stains will persist if you continue to smoke.
- Bad Breath
All smokers are difficult to tolerate socially because they develop a typical ‘smoker's breath’. Not only does smoking give you a dry mouth, but tar and nicotine settles in your oral cavity. Smoking also increases your risk of developing gum disease, which is another cause of bad breath. Stopping smoking lowers the risk of gum disease and thus helps prevent bad breath.
- Tooth Decay
Smokers have a higher chance of developing tooth decay as tobacco smoke interferes with production of saliva, which helps keep the surface of your teeth clean. Also, smoking increases the amount of dental plaque in your mouth, and the more dental plaque, the harder it is to remove. This eventually leads to dental tartar and tooth decay. Saliva also acts as a protector of teeth against dental decay. Smokers have reduced saliva formation which makes them prone to cavities.
- Gum Disease
Smoking can lead to gum disease by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. Smoking also interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells. This interference makes smokers more susceptible to infections, such as periodontal disease, and also seems to impair blood flow to the gums, which may affect wound healing. Decreased blood flow to the gums, teeth, jaw bone, etc., cause less nutrition reaching the tissues, hence lesser healing. This state causes compromised healing of the already caused destruction.
- Tooth Loss
Advanced periodontitis eventually leads to bone deterioration and tooth loss. Loss of a tooth can be very inconvenient and embarrassing. It can hinder your speech and create hindrance in eating as well.
- Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells starting in the mouth cavity leading to the formation of a tumour. Development of oral cancer occurs predominantly in the tongue, lower lip and floor of the mouth. Smokers are at higher risk of dying from oral cancer than those who have never smoked. The risk of dying from oral cancer increases with the amount smoked per day.
Smokers have only one way from escaping the above dental problems – QUIT SMOKING! Also, smokers should never skip regular check-ups with their dentists, to check for signs of developing gum disease and oral cancers. Smokers should also opt for frequent professional cleaning to maintain their overall appearance. Smokers should be brushing using a good herbal toothpaste like Meswak
, flossing, and using a tongue cleaner and mouthwash on a regular basis, at least twice daily. Having a proper oral hygiene plan is extremely important for smokers. Smokers should try to avoid foods that can cause further staining of the teeth such as coffee, tea, beetroot, etc. Smokers should also avoid eating foods that are highly acidic in composition as they can cause enamel breakdown and cavities
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