Regardless of the widely known facts that smoking is extremely damaging to your health and surroundings, about 43.8 US adults smoke regularly. Not only does it permanently damage your lungs and skin and quickly increases things like psoriasis, thinning hair and your chances of getting cancer, but smoking also does quite a big deal of damage to your oral health as well.
Smoking and Dental Health
Smoking regularly causes many oral health issues. We aren’t talking about just smoking cigarettes, but chewing tobacco, smoking cigars, using smokeless tobacco and hooka water pipes cause the following issues as well.
The Oral Cancer Foundation published the terrifying fact that someone dies from oral cancer every single day. An even scarier fact is that oral cancer is not something you can detect in the early stages, and it progresses very rapidly and can turn fatal quickly, which is why it is so important to keep your regular six month checkups with your dentist. If you do ever notice a sore on the inside of your mouth or ever have troubles swallowing for a few days in a row, it’s important to make an appointment right away. At your appointment we will look for any lesions that look suspicious, which could require a biopsy. The best prevention for oral cancer is simply not smoking or using any tobacco products, and by limiting your alcohol consumption.
There are two main types of gum disease, both of which are caused not only by not brushing and flossing regularly, but also by smoking and using tobacco.
- gingivitis – the first stages of gum disease and often undetectable at the start
- periodontitis – untreated gingivitis leads to this advanced stage of gum disease in which the body breaks down the bone and tissue of the affected areas which results in bone and tooth loss
If you’ve ever talked to someone who just came back from smoking, especially if you don’t smoke yourself, the smell of halitosis can be fairly obvious and off-putting when they’re up close and personal. This is because the smoke produced, which is inhaled into the lungs, is ultimately exhaled through the nose and mouth. Due to the 400+ chemicals in cigarettes alone (200 of which have been found to be poisonous), this exhalation immediately causes an effect on your breath due to those chemicals remaining in your mouth and airways (which is why a simple piece of chewing gum might not mask the smell).
Staining of Teeth
Daily eating and drinking of most foods and drinks do eventually cause plaque to build up, which is normal and which is one of the many reasons to keep your regular dental cleanings and checkups. However smoking increases the stains on your teeth, and causes darker, more noticeable ones as well, meaning you might need more frequent cleanings (rarely covered in full by your insurance) to keep your teeth healthy and stain free from smoking.
Smoking and Your Overall Health
Smoking Can Cause Cancer
Smoking and tobacco use causes cancer in more than just your mouth. It can cause cancer in your:
- bone marrow
Other Health Problems Associated with Smoking
- increased risk of heart disease or stroke
- damaged lungs which leads to chronic wheezing, coughing and trouble breathing
- decreased blood flow to your arms and legs
- thinning hair
- gives a sickly pallor to your skin
- yellowed fingers
- thinner bones
- women who are smoking daily can come to menopause earlier in life
- complications during pregnancy (even if you don’t smoke during)
How to Find Help
Fortunately, there are many resources out there to help you quit smoking. Click the links below to get started!
- The American Cancer Society’s Guide to Quitting Smoking
- Nicorette’s Quit Smoking Plan
- Helpguide.org’s How to Quit Smoking
As always, it is best to consult your doctor to find out the best way for you to quit smoking and to get on the path to better health today. Don’t forget to schedule your cleaning and check up appointment with us today so we can help you too!