When the impact of smoking cigarettes is debated, the first argument to be pointed out is the detrimental affect it has on a person's lungs. But make no mistake – cigarettes are doing damage inside your mouth too.
Let's take a tour of your mouth and explore how smoking can compromise your oral health:
It doesn't take very long for tar and nicotine to start taking its toll on your teeth. These ingredients will stain each tooth, causing them to appear yellow due to reducing saliva production. If you're a heavy smoker or somebody who has been smoking for several years, they may even turn brown.
Smoking causes halitosis - the dental term for chronic bad breath since it destroys the mouth's natural and healthy pH levels, which protects gum tissues. It also causes an acidic taste in the mouth, which contributes to ulcer development.
When the jawbone and soft tissues are destroyed due to bacterial infection, periodontal disease occurs. Teeth eventually loosen and are subject to falling out. Smoking is known to increase the risk of periodontal disease.
When saliva production is reduced, smokers can find it harder to fight infection as enamel breaks down faster and tooth decay can occur. Gum disease may manifest by swelling gums, weakening teeth and even cause teeth loss.
In worst-case scenarios, smoking has been linked to causing oral cancer due to the significant amount of chemicals found in each cigarette. Oral cancer is considered to be dangerous, as it is usually detected by the time it has reached an advanced stage.
Smoking promotes poor circulation which can be detrimental to your gums. Reduced blood flow to your gums means they could be deprived of essential nutrients like Vitamin C, making them susceptible to disease.
However, all is not lost - if you're concerned about the effects smoking is having on your teeth, visit your dentist or doctor to learn how you can calm your tobacco cravings and restore your oral hygiene. It is possible to have a top smile again but you must follow the advice of your dentist.
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