What Smoking & Tobacco Do to Your Dental Health

We all know that smoking can affect your lungs and mouth, leading to diseases such as cancer. But did you know that long-term smoking will also do a number on your mouth, tongue, teeth, and gums?

Smoking not only stains your teeth, but it also can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Smokers have more tooth sensitivity, wearing, discoloration, and bad breath problems as well.

Of course, smokers are also at a higher risk of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer

The Oral Cancer Foundation has reported the following information:

  • There are almost 50,000 new cases of oral cancer in the U.S. annually
  • Over 9,700 people die from oral cancer each year
  • Oral cancer is 4 percent of all cancers
  • Males over 40 who use tobacco or alcohol are at the highest risk for oral cancer

The key to lowering the prevalence of severe diseases like cancer is prevention (proper brushing and flossing) and early detection.   

Gum Disease

Those who smoke are three times more likely to get gum disease. There are a couple of key reasons for this. First, smoking causes a faster buildup of plaque, which can mean earlier or more severe onset of gum disease.

Second, smoking causes restricted blood flow to all parts of the body including gums. When there’s not enough blood in a particular area, it takes longer to heal from injury and other problems.

Finally, smokers may also be at risk for other diseases or may have other conditions exacerbated by the habit, like those that are associated with gum disease. These include heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory diseases.

Gum disease is a preventable problem, but when left untreated it will almost inevitably lead to tooth loss.   

Preventative Care

You can use certain kinds of toothpaste that are designed for smokers, but you should be aware that these can actually ruin the enamel. You might also want to visit your Nashua dentist more frequently. Whitening toothpaste typically doesn’t change the color that much, but they may be able to remove fresh stains.  

Mouthwashes can help with bad breath problems and bacterial buildup, but mostly this is only a short-term solution.  

Your Dentist Can Help

Your dentist will be able to assist you with quitting strategies, as well as plans to ensure that your mouth is maintained as well as possible until you are ready to quit. They can offer more regular screenings and suggest cleaning strategies and products that may be effective.

The positive news for smokers is that most of the staining brought on over years of smoking can be easily removed but only if you quit for good.

Dental Treatment Options for Smokers

If you are a current or even a former smoker, you may be wondering what your dentist can do for you to help with yellowed teeth or advanced gum disease. Typically, we will offer extra cleanings and also check your mouth several times a year.

The good news is that a dentist may be able to suggest some cosmetic dentistry options such as whitening, veneers, crowns, bridges, and implants.

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