How Does Smoking Affect Oral Health?

Smoking cigarettes is not just a problematic vice. It has numerous consequences for your health, especially your oral health. Even if you have a quality daily oral care routine, you are still at risk of the effects of smoking. Many of the effects of smoking on the body are well known. However, there are more ways that smoking can harm your teeth and mouth.

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What Are the Side Effects of Smoking?

Tobacco Discolors Your Teeth

Some of the ingredients in tobacco include nicotine and tar, which can stain your teeth. The nicotine and tar penetrate into your teeth through the pores in the enamel, leaving deep, set-in stains.

Your previously white teeth will turn yellow or even brown. It can be difficult to remove nicotine stains from your teeth without a professional dental cleaning.

Cigarettes Give You Bad Breath

Cigarette smoke has a pungent smell on its own, and this smell can be left in your mouth. Bad breath is very common amongst smokers. Smoking tobacco can also cause dry mouth, which compounds your bad breath and increases the bacteria in your mouth. It also increases the likelihood of developing cavities or gum disease.

You Are More Likely to Develop Tooth Decay or Gum Disease

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smokers are twice as likely to develop tooth decay or gum disease than those who don’t. Gum disease can eventually cause your gum line to recede, which is common amongst smokers.

It is more difficult to maintain healthy teeth and gums once your gums begin to recede. You may have to undergo dermal filler injections or surgical procedures to correct the effects of gum disease.

Smoking Leads to a Weakened Immune System

Smoking will to weaken your immune system, which can affect your body’s ability to regenerate gum tissue. This can make oral procedures and surgeries more difficult since your body may not heal as quickly, or it may be more likely to develop infections.

You Can Develop Cancer

One of the more significant effects of smoking is the development of oral cancer, which can be deadly if not caught early. Nearly 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year.

Oral cancer can include cancer of the tongue, the floor and the roof of the mouth, the throat, and the lips. Cancer is a serious diagnosis that can involve many long, intense treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and possibly surgeries.

There Is a Potential For Death

CDC states that over 480,000 people die annually from smoke-related illnesses. Infections, a weakened immune system, and cancers increase the likelihood of someone dying from smoking. Smoking can, on average, reduce your life expectancy by nearly 10 years, according to the CDC.

With so many terrible effects on your health, it may be time to look into quitting smoking altogether. Another thing to keep in mind is that smoking not only affects you but those around you. People can still develop asthma or cancers from secondhand smoke as well.