How Smoking Affects Your Oral Health
You already know that smoking is bad for your health. There are numerous advertisements saying how bad the habit is for your lungs. There are warning labels on every pack. You have no doubt heard about the health risks associated with smoking with your doctor. While smoking can cause serious health complications, including breathing issues, lung cancer, and heart disease, smoking can also impact the health of your mouth. Every time you inhale, thousands of chemicals are passing into your mouth and over the intraoral tissues before they reach your airway. When you smoke, the health of your mouth is in serious jeopardy. ROOT™ Periodontal and Implant Center can help.
The Effects of Smoking on Your Breath
Cigarettes contain numerous harmful chemicals. Every time that you inhale, all of these chemicals pass through your mouth on their way to your airway and lungs. They coat your intraoral tissues and can be difficult to eliminate. No matter how much you brush, or how much mouthwash you use, the chemicals still linger, contributing to bad breath. Additionally, smoking can lead to dry mouth. This is a condition in which your mouth does not have enough saliva, leaving it feeling dry and tacky. These conditions are perfect for fostering bacterial growth, which can also contribute to your breath smelling bad.
Your Risk of Gum Disease is Increased
Along with creating a perfect environment for bacterial growth, smoking both limits the amount of oxygen in your blood and slows your blood flow. The habit also impacts your immune system. Your gums require essential nutrients to keep them strong and healthy and to help the tissue fight off infection. However, when you smoke, your gums do not get the nutrients they need when they need them. Your body also has a harder time fighting against bacteria. These factors can significantly increase your risk of developing gum disease. Smoking can also lead to gum disease progressing at a faster rate.
Smoking and Your Smile
Smoking can have a serious impact on the appearance of your smile. Tar and nicotine, two of the chemicals found in cigarettes, contribute to stains. Tar is naturally dark in color. Nicotine, on the other hand, is clear until it comes into contact with oxygen. When this happens, it turns yellow. Both of these chemicals can cause deep-set stains in your teeth that can be difficult to treat. Moreover, if you have gum disease, your gums can begin to recede, causing your teeth to appear longer.
Healing after Dental Treatment
Certain types of dental treatments, along with dental surgeries, have a recovery period associated with them. Once again, smoking slows your blood flow, reduces oxygen levels, and suppresses your immune system. These issues can significantly slow the ability of your body to heal properly, which can greatly increase your risk of developing infections as you heal. Smoking can contribute to dry socket, a condition in which clots become dislodged, and can even contribute to the failure of certain treatments, including dental implants.
Smoking and Oral Cancer
Smoking is strongly linked to oral cancer. Oral cancer is the largest group of head and neck cancers. It can affect just about any area of your mouth and can be fatal if not detected and treated early. Over 40,000 Americans are diagnosed each year. Approximately 80% to 90% of oral cancer patients were smokers.
Quitting smoking is not only good for your lungs, but it is also good for your mouth, as well as the rest of your body. For more information, and how you can work to protect the health of your mouth, call ROOT™ Periodontal and Implant Center at Carrollton: (972) 662-8660 or Flower Mound: (469) 444-1515 today.