How Smoking Damages Your Teeth

It is a fact that smoking has several negative effects to the body. No one can deny that the effects are nasty. Aside from lung cancer, which is known to be a killer, some of the visible effects of smoking are the ones affecting the teeth.

Imagine the nicotine from the cigarette passing through your teeth and gums. Since your teeth are among the first ones to catch the smoke, the nicotine residues will be stuck on your teeth causing the yellowish stain. The nicotine stain destroys the healthy appearance of the teeth.

Periodontal Disease

Aside from yellow teeth and bad breath, smoking can also cause damage to your gums. Your gum tissues can be irritated, and the blood flow might be reduced. Once the blood flow is reduced, this will cause your gums to pull away from the teeth. This gum disease is called periodontal disease.

Smokers and nonsmokers alike are both prone to this gum disease. However, if you are a smoker, your risk to get the disease is much higher. One of the symptoms of periodontal disease is receding gums. Gum recession exposes the roots of the teeth, which causes the teeth to be more vulnerable to tooth decay. Since the gums are loosened, pocket-like forms are created below and in between teeth which could trap pieces of food particles. If these trapped food particles are not removed, they will decay and cause bacteria buildup. Thus, the teeth and gums become more damaged and are prone to more infections.

Since the receding gums are exposing the roots of the teeth, they become more sensitive and can cause sensitive teeth and gums. Sensitive teeth and gums can cause pain when drinking or eating food which are too hot or too cold.

Gum Disease Symptoms Are Masked

Another bad thing is that smoking can also mask the signs of a gum disease []. One symptom of gum diseases is bleeding gums. However, since smoking reduces the blood flow, weak gums may not appear bleeding. This is dangerous because instead of being able to resolve the disease urgently, the disease is being masked and is not seen.

The continuous damage of the gums can lead to bacterial growth that can cause bad breath, cavities, mouth sores, infections, and excessive plaque buildup. When plaque hardens, they become the cement-like layer called tartar around the gums and between teeth. Tartar can cause additional pain and irritation. As the gums and teeth continue to deteriorate, tooth loss can be inevitable. Excessive smoking can also lead to bone loss in the jaw, inflammation of salivary glands, and delayed healing from oral and other surgeries.

Mouth Cancer

Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer. However, not everyone knows that smoking can also lead to mouth cancer.

Not much is heard of the mouth cancer as compared to lung or breast cancer. We’ve all heard about cancer affecting the breasts, the lungs, or the ovaries but not much about the one affecting the mouth. This type of cancer affects the lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat.

Majority of mouth cancer patients are men who are over 40 years old. However, anyone with or without teeth can actually be affected by this cancer. In the United Kingdom alone, there has already been a massive increase of diagnosed mouth cancer cases, jumping to 68% over the last 20 years.

There’s no question. Smoking could really do a lot of harmful things to your body which may lead to death. Quit now if you can. If not, please make sure you take extra care of your teeth, gums, and mouth. Although taking extra care of your teeth, gums, and mouth doesn’t completely remove the risk of cancer and the other diseases mentioned here, it will at least lower the risk on some of them.

Regular dental checkup is also important especially when you are feeling some pain or soreness anywhere in your mouth.