Smoking: How Does It Affect Your Dental Health?

smoking how does it affect your dental healthMost people know that smoking can lead to lung cancer as well as other related pulmonary diseases. However, the effects of smoking on dental health are often underestimated. Smoking can affect your dental health, resulting in serious conditions such as gum disease and oral cancer.
It is important to understand the relationship between smoking and adverse dental health if you are to quit the habit and observe good dental health. While it is understandable that it takes a lot of effort to stop smoking, quitting the habit is one of the first steps towards achieving excellent dental health.

Why is smoking so bad for your teeth?

Gum disease
It is commonly known that gum disease is as a result of bacterial infections that affect gums and the bone that surrounds the teeth. However, bacteria are not the only causes of periodontal disease. Reports have established that smokers are more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers. Smoking will also undermine the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight such infections or to respond to treatment.
Stained teeth and bad breath
Cigarettes contain tar, a substance that will discolor your tongue, stain your teeth and result to bad breath if you smoke over a prolonged period. Smoking will also have serious effects on your sense of smell and taste, in addition to making it difficult to recover after dental procedures such as tooth extraction.
Buildup of calculus (hardened plaque)
Smoking can cause plaque, the sticky substance on your teeth, to harden. The habit can also cause a further buildup of the hardened plaque, a factor that may result in serious dental diseases.
Tooth decay
When smoking causes a buildup of dental plaque in your mouth, it becomes more difficult to remove the calculus. When calculus accumulates in your mouth, you are likely to experience dental tartar or tooth decay. When these conditions are left untreated, they will cause other dental conditions such as tooth loss.
Tooth loss
The fact that smoking can lead to gum disease means that it has the potential to cause tooth loss. When periodontitis advances, bone deterioration, and gum recession will eventually result in tooth loss.
Dry mouth
Excessive use of tobacco will result in a dry mouth, one of the factors that can contribute towards the development of gum disease. If smokers to not keep their mouth moistened most of the time, they will develop gum disease that will quickly advance to become more serious.
Oral cancer
This is one of the most serious consequences of smoking on dental health. Smoking can cause the healthy cells in your oral cavity to start mutating, leading to oral cancer. Whenever you inhale the chemicals contained in tobacco, the harmful compounds will introduce changes to your oral cavity even before they can do the same to the lungs. Those who smoke regularly are at a higher risk of developing various types of cancers in their oral cavities.
If you are a habitual smoker, there is a good chance that the habit will prolong the time it takes for you to recover after oral surgery. This will result in more pain and increased costs of dental treatment and care. It is important to ensure that you visit your dentist regularly for routine checkups and to avoid some of these dental problems.

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