No matter your age or cultural background, everyone knows the basics of oral hygiene, and we all strive to clean our teeth at least twice a day. Health risks such as smoking influences all aspects of health, including oral health. If you smoke, are proper oral hygiene habits such as twice daily brushing enough to maintain oral health? Probably not.
What effect does smoking have on oral health?
It can cause gum infections, hasten the progression of gum disease and cause tooth discoloration. It can also cause bad breath and increase plaque and tartar buildup.
Many persons are aware of the internal damage that can be done from continued use of substances such as tobacco, however, the direct connection to oral health is rarely drawn. There are many conditions that are dramatically amplified by tobacco use such as gum disease or infections, plaque or tartar build up and bad breath. The vast majority of persons who have been diagnosed with oral cancer have been smokers.
Does smoking destroy the tooth itself?
The structure of your teeth are not directly damaged from smoking, however, your immune system is damaged when you smoke which decreases your ability to fight infection. If the germs in your mouth continue to flourish without any defense by your body, they can damage the bones and tissue that hold your teeth in place resulting in your teeth falling out or having to be extracted.
Does gum damage improve after someone has quit smoking?
When someone quits smoking, their immune system free of the strain of tobacco should improve giving your body the ability to fight the germs that cause disease. This will also give your gums the freedom to heal and many have been reported to show significant improvement in their gums after quitting.
Does smoking affect your tongue?
Smokers face a high risk of developing leukoplakia which can cause saliva glands to become inflamed. They can also develop a condition called black hairy tongue where your tongue takes on a dark color similar to brown and green or black. It develops a coating so thick it looks like hair and in severe instances a smoker can even lose their sense of taste or smell.
At what point is it too late to quit smoking?
It’s never “too late” to quit smoking as many persons have been reported to have gradual improvement over time. Not only will your oral health improve but your risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke and many other illnesses and diseases will decrease, allowing you to live a healthier life.
Smoking has a big impact on your oral hygiene and can greatly increase the progression and effects of a number of diseases, however, it is never too late to make a lifestyle change and enjoy the benefit that comes from an improved immune system and overall general health.
Our Walled Lake Dental Office is committed to a healthy mouth and smile that will last. Brushing and flossing is incredibly important to protect the health of your teeth from plaque and bacteria that builds up over time, especially if you smoke. Regular dental checkups should be a priority to promote a healthy mouth and smile that will last a lifetime. Call today and schedule an appointment!