As most of us know, smoking is responsible for causing heart disease and cancer. But did you know that smoking affects your oral health as well? The combination of smoke and nicotine not only discolors teeth but can cause excess plaque and tartar to form, leading to periodontal disease, among other things. That’s why the Boise dentists at Summit Dental Group would like to provide you with the following ways smoking affects your oral health.
Not only does the smell of smoke linger on your tongue, cheeks, and gums, it can cause dry mouth in the process. Because saliva works to keep your mouth healthy by preventing the growth of problem-causing bacteria, smoking decreases the amount of saliva you produce. In turn, this can cause you to develop bad breath with the unpleasant smell of stale cigarettes.
Oral cancer is one of the most common diseases associated with smoking. In fact, those who smoke are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers. This type of cancer can affect the gums, tongue, lips, and throat. Why? The chemicals contained in tobacco can change healthy cells into cancerous ones over time. However, if caught early, oral cancer can be successfully treated. Left ignored, it can lead to disfiguration or even death.
Additional oral health diseases associated with smoking include gum disease and gingivitis. These issues cause the gums of your mouth to become infected and inflamed. Severe gum disease and gingivitis cases can lead to tooth loss, which can require more invasive and expensive dental health treatments such as dental implants.
Smoking restricts blood flow by contracting your veins and arteries. This can make it harder to heal after surgery and dental treatments. Furthermore, treated areas are more likely to get irritated or infected by the chemicals in tobacco. For example, suppose you have a tooth extraction and are waiting to receive a dental implant, your Boise dentist will advise you not to smoke because doing so can lead to dry socket – a painful condition that makes the healing process more difficult.
If you’re a smoker and want to maintain your oral health, it’s important to brush and floss your teeth daily and visit your Boise dentist for regular check-ups. You can also receive professional teeth whitening treatments to remove any unwanted stains. However, if you continue to smoke, a teeth whitening treatment won’t last as long as it would for non-smokers.
Visiting your Boise dentist for regular check-ups every six months will help reduce your chances of developing oral health issues associated with smoking. At Summit Dental, we can help give you a whiter smile and catch problems early while they are still small enough to fix with minimal treatment.
Interested in learning more? Contact the Boise dentists at Summit Dental to schedule an appointment today. You can fill out our online form or give us a call at (208) 314-2275. We look forward to seeing you and helping you kick the smoking habit for a healthier, more radiant smile.