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How Does Smoking Impact Your Dental Health?

While smoking increases your risk of many health problems, it can be overlooked in oral health. Smoking can cause many significant issues for your dental health. The effects it has on someone’s teeth include gum disease, tooth decay, oral cancer, and bad breath.

What is the Impact of Smoking on Dental Health?

Many health issues can be caused by or made more severe by smoking. As far as oral health goes, smoking can increase your risk for the following conditions.

Oral Cancer

Cancer is widely known to be a very serious disease that affects your entire body regardless of where it is located and can take a toll on someone mentally. The biggest cause of oral cancer is smoking and it can occur in the lips, tongue, cheeks, mouth, and throat.

Oral cancer can be caused by the chemicals in tobacco. Smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers.

Gum Disease

Similar to oral cancer, one of the leading causes of gum disease is smoking. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth and gums. The plaque contains bacteria that can cause inflammation and infection. If the gum infection gets bad enough, it will permanently damage the gums and could cause tooth loss.

Smoking increases this process because it keeps stops proper blood flow, preventing gums from fighting off infection. While treatments for gum disease do exist, they may not be effective if the patient is a current smoker.

Tooth Decay

In addition to affecting your oral health, smoking can increase your chance of tooth decay. This is caused because the chemicals in tobacco dry out your mouth, making it so there is not enough saliva to protect against acid-producing bacteria. This will lead to cavities and eroded tooth enamel and, therefore, tooth decay.

Dental Treatment

Everyone should have a dental hygiene routine to protect their oral health, reduce bad breath, to feel clean, and avoid dental treatment. Nobody seeks out getting a root canal or looks forward to getting cavities filled other than to stop their toothache. Smoking necessitates such dental treatment, and it slows down the healing process afterward.

Treatments for gum disease, infection, tooth decay, or stained teeth are more likely to be necessary for patients who smoke.

Bad Breath

The chemicals in tobacco stick to your tongue, teeth, and gums and can lead to halitosis, which is also known as, “bad breath.” Even without the smell of the chemicals, smoking can dry out your mouth which leads to bad breath as well. Detecting symptoms of gum disease and tooth decay can be difficult with smoking because they share the symptom of bad breath with smoking.

Improve Your Oral Health as a Smoker

If you truly want to improve your dental health then you will need to quit smoking, but if this is not an option for you, then here are some ways to protect your oral health even while smoking. Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, use mouthwash, and floss. Try to avoid letting your mouth get dry—stay hydrated and use moisturizing mouthwash.

As always, keep up with regular dental visits to ensure that gum disease and dental decay are detected early.

Plan a Smoke-Free Future

No matter what precautions you take, smoking is bad for your oral health and can cause a slew of issues. If you want to lessen these issues then continue proper dental hygiene and keep an eye out for symptoms of oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth decay, so you can stay healthy.

Make living smoke-free a reality. Talk with Dr. McCullough about how to go about this and get support in this decision toward better dental health.

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