Tobacco is linked to a number of health complications, including those inside your mouth.
The most recognised effect of smoking is the staining and discolouration of teeth. This is caused by the nicotine and tar in cigarettes. But, visually this is just tip of the smoking iceberg.
Smoking decreases blood flow to the teeth and gums, causing bone shrinkage, teeth loss, and an inhibits the body’s ability to manufacture the right kind of saliva, a substantial problem given the necessary role it plays in protecting your teeth from decay.
Here are five oral health complications linked to tobacco that should be top of mind:
- Gum Disease - Gum (Periodontal) disease, or periodontitis represents the number one cause of tooth loss in Australia. It is a bacterial infection, making your gums red and swollen which is destructive to the soft tissues and bones which hold the teeth in place. Smokers are much more likely than non smokers to develop gum disease.
- Oral Cancer – The use of tobacco is a major cause of oral cancer due to the carcinogenic chemicals contained which are exposed to your oral tissues. This exposure may cause genetic changes to the cells of the oral tissues, which can result in oral cancer. This risk is minimised by stopping the use of tobacco products.
- Delayed Healing – Smoking affects the rate of healing inside your mouth as the chemicals in tobacco decreases the blood flow to your oral tissues, effectively reducing the amount of oxygen being delivered to your oral tissues which hampers the healing process.
- Stained Teeth – The nicotine and tar in cigarettes over time will discolour the outer layer of your teeth with commonly a yellow or even brown tint. Staining can also become apparent on dental restorations such as veneers and crowns.
- Bad Breath – Clinically known as ‘Halitosis’, this is another oral health issue which is associated with tobacco used. The cause of this can be related to bacteria building inside the mouth, or just from the lingering smell of the tobacco itself.
World No Tobacco Day presents the opportunity to raise awareness on the health complications associated with smoking. Quitting smoking is challenging, however by implementing the right steps and additionally visiting the dentist and dental hygienist regularly, this will provide the best basis for taking back control of your oral health. Contact Us today to make an appointment and to take one of steps to making your oral health improved for the future.