Smoking can cause a variety of dental problems and has even been linked to an increased risk of oral cancer. This includes stained teeth, bad breath, increased risk of gum disease, tooth loss, and mouth sores. Read on to learn more.
Smoking can increase your risk of developing bad breath. This is because smoking dries out your mouth. It stops saliva from cleaning your teeth by washing away odor-causing bacteria. It also causes dry mouth. Saliva helps wash away food particles and prevent cavities by reducing acidity in your mouth. Without enough saliva to do these things, there is an increased risk of tooth decay.
Smokers are less likely to practice good oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day or flossing daily. This can lead to more plaque and tartar buildup. This can also increase your risk for periodontitis. Periodontal disease can cause gum recession and tooth loss. Your teeth can become discolored due to tobacco staining. Tobacco also affects your taste buds which can lead to a “smoker’s palate” which can make foods taste bitter. This can also be a sign of oral cancer.
Delayed healing after dental surgeries
Smoking can also cause delayed healing after a procedure such as a tooth extraction or a dental implant procedure. This means you might experience a longer recovery time than normal.
Smoking can cause tooth discoloration by causing the enamel to stain more easily. It can also cause the lips to become discolored as well as the skin around your mouth. In addition to causing staining and yellowing of the teeth, smoking affects the color of the gums. The gums appear grey or yellow in color due to the nicotine and tar in the cigarettes. Some of this staining can be permanent and can be difficult to remove with teeth whitening treatments. The only way to correct this staining is to undergo gum surgery to remove the damaged gum tissue and replace it with healthy tissue.
Increases the risk of cancer
Smoking increases the risk of oral cancers in the mouth and throat. This type of cancer generally appears as a growth on the lip, tongue, roof of the mouth, floor of the mouth, cheek, or back of the mouth. This growth is usually red or white with a firm texture that bleeds easily when touched. It causes a high amount of discomfort and pain to the patient.
Increased loss of jaw bone
Smoking is detrimental to your oral health in many ways. This includes the gums, the teeth, and the jawbone. This is because smokers are more susceptible to losing bone mass than any other group. Bone loss in the jaw can eventually lead to tooth loss. The teeth become loose and are not held securely in place as they should be.
Increased risk of leukoplakia
Leukoplakia is a type of oral lesion that forms inside the mouth. Tobacco use is the most prominent risk factor for developing leukoplakia lesions. Smoking also significantly increases the risk of developing other oral cancers.
Increased risk of gum disease
Smoking increases the risk of gum disease for several reasons. First, it decreases the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream, which limits your gums’ ability to heal itself. Second, nicotine causes vasoconstriction, making it harder for your mouth to reach the proper level of acidity that is necessary for fighting off bacteria. Third, nicotine contributes to dry mouth, which causes an increased buildup of plaque and tartar in your mouth, leading to your increased risk for periodontal disease.
The delayed healing process after dental procedures
When the effects of smoking are noted during routine cleaning appointments, dentists may recommend various treatments for smokers. These treatments may include more frequent teeth cleanings, the use of an antibacterial mouthwash or topical gel, and the use of a prescription toothpaste that is designed to minimize the effects of smoking. Smoking can cause delayed healing and cause significant discomfort during and after treatment.
The lower success rate of dental implants
Smoking can negatively affect the success of dental implant procedures due to delayed healing times, increased risks of infections, and less bone strength. Because of these factors, smokers require longer treatment courses with extended recovery times.
The best way for a smoker to enjoy the benefits of dental implants is to quit smoking prior to the procedure. However, quitting before the procedure won’t necessarily guarantee a successful outcome. Due to the many risks associated with smoking, your dentist will likely require a pre-surgical exam to ensure the implant will be successful. This will ensure the patient will get the best results possible from the implant procedure.
Visit Georgetown Cosmetic Dentistry at 2440 M Street, NW, Suite 328, Washington, DC 20037, or call (202) 785-4141 to learn more about tips to maintain a healthy smile.