There are 32 fantastic reasons to quit smoking if you care about your oral health. That means your teeth, of course. It’s no secret that smoking has detrimental effects on your teeth. It may seem inconsequential to get stained teeth from smoking, but the truth is, smoking stains on your teeth are just the tip of the iceberg. So, let’s learn about the six surprising ways smoking affects your oral health.
1: Smoking Teeth Damage Creates Excess Plaque and Tartar
Tobacco products contain chemicals that alter the natural flow of saliva, which contributes to a dirtier mouth. When smoking, it’s much easier for bacteria to stick and form plaque on the teeth and gums due to these salivary changes.
2: Smoking Teeth Damage Includes Gum Disease
A smoker’s chances of developing gum disease are twice that of a nonsmoker. To make matters worse, dental treatments don’t work as well for smokers. Eventually, gum disease will damage the bone that supports your teeth by infecting the gums and cause tooth loss. Signs and symptoms of gum disease include:
- Gums that are red or swollen;
- Bleeding gums;
- A painful chewing sensation;
- Loose teeth;
- Sensitive teeth;
- Gums that are pulling away from the teeth.
Anyone can develop gum disease simply by allowing plaque and bacteria under the gum line. However, smokers’ immune systems are weakened by smoking, making them more susceptible to gum disease. A smoker’s body has a difficult time fending off gum infections with a weakened immune system. The result is a more rapid progression of gum disease. Furthermore, smoking alters saliva flow, increasing your risk of accumulating plaque.
3: Bad Teeth from Smoking Also Mean Bad Breath
There is such a thing as a smoker’s breath. The smell of cigarette smoke pools in your throat and lungs to make others feel like they’re talking to a chimney. Additionally, chemicals in tobacco products can interact with your saliva to produce an offensive odor in your mouth.
4: Smoking Teeth Damage Can Mean Tooth Death
Smokers are at an increased risk of losing their teeth due to the smoke’s impact on blood circulation. The reduced circulation of your blood is particularly hazardous to your oral health since a lack of blood supply can essentially starve your teeth of the nutrients they need to stay strong and healthy. As a consequence, long-term smoking is often linked to tooth loss.
5: Wisdom Teeth Removal Risks from Smoking Are Serious
It is harder for smokers to heal after tooth extractions, dental implants, cosmetic enhancements, or gum disease treatments. Besides suppressing the immune system, smoking interferes with blood circulation, making it a perfect storm for poor healing.
Smokers face a greater risk of wisdom tooth removal. In addition, smoking increases the potential for infection and lengthens the recovery process after wisdom tooth removal. Smoking while recovering from a wisdom tooth extraction can also cause sutures to tear when suction is created.
6: Teeth Smoking Stains Are Brutal
Nicotine and tar can enter teeth’s tiny pores, causing diseases. Nicotine’s chemical reaction with oxygen leads to that yellow tooth color commonly associated with smokers. Furthermore, smokers’ teeth are more likely to develop yellow and brown coloring due to hardened tartar and plaque accumulations.
Although teeth whitening treatments can help undo tooth discoloration, they should not be used as a substitute for quitting smoking. Smoking damages teeth much deeper than tooth color.
It’s Not Too Late to Improve Your Oral Health by Quitting Smoking
There’s good news, though. Quit smoking now and help prevent further damage to your teeth, even if you already see some telltale signs that your teeth are in trouble. At Patuxent Orthodontics, we know that the last thing you need is “another lecture” about quitting smoking. Regardless, we are committed to helping our patients avoid the harmful effects of smoking on their teeth, so you can rest assured that if you visit our office to learn about options to reduce the effects on your teeth from smoking, you will be treated with respect and compassion. So make sure that you schedule a complimentary consultation at Patuxent Orthodontics in Hollywood, MD and check out our blog!