Are you a smoker? If you are, you may notice that your teeth are stained or your gums are not as healthy as they could be. Why is it that tobacco use, both cigarettes and smokeless, negatively affects your oral health? Understanding how tobacco products ruin your teeth may help you in your decision to quit and take steps to restore your smile.
Smoking tobacco includes cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Using these products causes ill effects on your oral and overall health. Smokers often experience unpleasant side effects.
- Reduced sense of taste and smell
- Increased tooth sensitivity of cold and hot
- Excessive buildup of tartar
- Delayed healing after having dental work
- Smokers cough
- Breathing difficulties
- Increased heart rate
Your dentist can tell if you smoke by examining your teeth, especially if you have oral problems, such as tobacco-stained teeth. You and your dentist can discuss ways to greatly reduce your risks of the following:
- Mouth sores that do not heal
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal disease
- Oral cancers
Smokeless tobacco goes by many names: chew, snuff, and spit. Smokeless tobacco is worse for your oral health than smoking tobacco. This is because the chew is put directly into the mouth and placed in the cheek where it has contact with the teeth and gums. Spit in the mouth mixes with the tobacco, creating a black tarry substance. While most of this is spit out, some of it mixes with the saliva. This means the nicotine and other ingredients in the products enter the bloodstream.
This type of tobacco is more addictive and dangerous to your health, teeth and gums. Smokeless tobacco users often experience several side effects in addition to the side effects similar to smoking tobacco.
- Addiction to nicotine
- Receding gum line
- Bad breath
- Changes in the texture and color of mouth tissue
- Upset stomach
- Increase in bowel activity
Smokeless tobacco increases your risk for oral cancer as well as lung cancer and stomach cancer.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking negatively affects every organ in the body, and quitting smoking can greatly reduce your risk of tobacco-related diseases and add years to your life.
Quitting To Reclaim Your Smile
You can get a thorough cleaning and begin a good oral health routine after quitting smoking to restore your teeth back to normal. Even if the damage is extensive or irreversible, there are options to help you get back your healthy smile. Talk to your dentist about dental implants, veneers, and other ways to restore a nice smile after you stop smoking. And keep in mind, if you start using tobacco again, staining and other oral problems can return within a few weeks. Talk to a local professional such as Sun Dental Group Orthodontics.