You would be hard-pressed to name a body part that smoking benefits—and your teeth are not one of them. Smoking negatively impacts every part of your body, from your hair to your toenails. Your mouth is no exception. Smoking cigarettes cause discoloration of teeth, increase in plaque and tartar buildup and bad breath. It can also inflame your salivary gland openings and increase bone loss in the jaw. In terms of long term damage, smoking also raises the risk of developing leukoplakia, gum disease and oral cancer.
Lower autoimmune defenses
Tobacco disrupts the function of the gum tissue cells, which in turn allows for a breeding ground for bacteria and therefore greater susceptibility to infection. This can also lead to the impairment of blood flow throughout the gums, which could result in the inability for wounds to heal. Because your mouth is unable to fight back against infection, plaque, tartar and bacteria are able to spread rapidly. Your body’s autoimmune defenses are set low due to tobacco usage, which results in a body unable to protect itself
Smoking damages teeth
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims that 16% of smokers have poor dental health, which is four times the rate of nonsmokers. Furthermore, 33% of smokers suffer from at least three dental health issues. Studies state that on average, women smokers lose 1.5 teeth every decade, compared to that of 2.9 teeth for male smokers.
Smoking affects more than just the teeth in your mouth: it also heavily affects your gums. Those who smoke are 64.2% more at risk to develop gum disease than those who do not. Because gums inflame as a result of an influx of bacteria, the risk of periodontal disease rises significantly in smokers. In fact, over 40% of Americans who are diagnosed with periodontal disease are smokers.
Due to the possibility of bone loss throughout the jaw, dental implants have a significantly lower chance of being successful in smokers. The recovery from oral surgery takes longer and is more complicated, which in turn causes further infection.
Prevention is key
The recent usage of e-cigarettes has been proclaimed as healthier and safer. However, the truth of this still unclear. While the decrease of tobacco usage in e-cigarettes is beneficial, the replacement with the aerosol used could potentially cause oral hygiene issues.
If you are already a smoker or have quit after years of doing so, it is possible to work to prevent gum disease. The best form of prevention is to quit smoking; practicing good oral hygiene is a close second. Ensuring you floss and brush your teeth daily with a toothpaste containing fluoride is essential.
Smokers are less likely than nonsmokers to have visited their dentist in the past five years. If you are a smoker or have a history of smoking, the importance of regular visits is vital. Detection of early signs of disease is important in the ability to prevent spread. Ensure that your gums and teeth are healthy by coming into Smiles NY and having Dr. Roth or Dr. Chase take a look at your mouth today.