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What Effects do Smoking and Tobacco Have on Your Teeth?

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What Effects do Smoking and Tobacco Have on Your Teeth?

 tobacco and teeth

 

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health, but did you know it is a major contributor to dental problems as well? Although progress has been made in making the general public aware of the hazards of smoking, the tobacco epidemic continues.

Why be Concerned with the Oral Effects of Tobacco and Smoking?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), besides the obvious hazards of lung cancer, cigarettes stain your teeth, cause bad breath and damage your oral cavity. A healthy smile is paramount for most adults, and tobacco use of all kinds can leave permanent stains that cannot be whitened. Using tobacco products can also cause a diminished sense of taste, hinder your immune system, and a reduced ability to recover after surgery.

Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with gum or periodontal disease, which causes inflammation around the tooth. This irritation can affect the bone and other supporting structures, and its advanced stages can result in tooth loss. In addition, gum recession can cause adverse effects on crowns and other tooth restorations.

Your teeth are often the first thing people notice when you’re introduced to someone for the first time. Nobody wants a smile that is dull or discolored, or the bad breath that accompanies smoking and routine brushing doesn’t remove the stains or halitosis.

Ultimately, the effects of smoking on teeth can lead to tooth decay, and pose a challenge in trying to implement restorative dentistry. Because tobacco causes tooth discoloration, whitening your teeth does not always yield good results. Some tobacco stains cannot be whitened. 

Smokeless Tobacco

As with cigarettes, smokeless tobacco can lead to a higher incidence of oral cancer. Some forms of smokeless tobacco are snuff, chewing tobacco, or dip.

A few of the known health hazards of smokeless tobacco include:

  • Smokeless tobacco products contain at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals.
  • Smokeless tobacco is known to cause cancers of the mouth, lips, tongue, pancreas, voice box, esophagus, colon and bladder due to the toxins in the juice created by the product. Swallowing those toxins can cause cancer in other areas of the body, not just in the mouth.
  • Smokeless tobacco can irritate your gums, causing gum disease.
  • Sugar is often added to enhance the flavor of smokeless tobacco, increasing the risk for tooth decay.
  • Smokeless tobacco typically contains sand and grit, which can wear down teeth, causing tooth sensitivity and erosion of the enamel.
  • 60 to 78 percent of daily users of smokeless tobacco have oral lesions. Dr. Shane S. Porter of Premier Dentistry of Eagle can detect these lesions with an oral examination and will be able to determine a course of treatment.

Is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth?

Vaping can also have a negative effect on your teeth and overall oral health. Although vaping appears to pose fewer health risks for the lungs than smoking cigarettes, it is tied to several adverse effects and the use of nicotine intensifies them. 

The following side effects may occur as a result of vaping itself or vaping a fluid that contains nicotine:

  • Bad breath
  • Tooth decay
  • Periodontal diseases – gingivitis, periodontitis and receding gums
  • Bone loss
  • Tooth loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Plaque accumulation
  • Vaping aerosols can increase gum inflammation and overall inflammation in your body
  • Teeth stains and discoloration
  • Teeth grinding

What Can You Do?

The best thing you can do for your oral and your overall health is to stop using tobacco products altogether. The nicotine in tobacco is an addictive substance, so you may need to try several times before you are able to successfully kick the habit.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites five steps for quitting the use of tobacco products. They also sponsor the Quitline, which is an online program for smoking cessation.

Dr. Porter, can also provide support and resources to help you in your effort to quit using tobacco products. Make an appointment to have a thorough examination and to have your teeth cleaned. Newly cleaned teeth can be the impetus for kicking the habit.

Why Quit?

The CDC estimates that male smokers lose an average of 13.2 years of life and female smokers 14.5 years because of smoking.

Reasons to Quit Smoking:

  • You will live a longer and healthier life.
  • You will lower your chance of having a heart attack, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, stroke, or cancer.
  • Food will taste and smell better.
  • Your home, car, clothing, and breath will smell better.
  • You will have more physical stamina.
  • You will have less wrinkling/aging of skin.

CDC’s Five Steps to Quitting

  1. Set a date to quit. Prepare mentally.
  2. Seek support from your friends and family, as well as Dr. Porter.
  3. Practice behavioral distractions, such as chewing sugarless gum, or going for a walk when the urge to smoke comes up. Learn new skills and behaviors to help you cope without cigarettes.
  4. Make use of medications, both prescription and over the counter, such as a transdermal nicotine patch or nicotine gum. Both are effective in tapering off of nicotine vs. going cold turkey.
  5. Prepare for setbacks and seek help for overcoming obstacles or relapses.

Because of the oral health implications of tobacco use, you may need to see Dr. Porter more often than twice a year to make sure that oral problems don’t develop in between appointments. He can also provide support as you make the effort to quit.

Dr. Porter is here to help you and your whole family’s dental needs. He is competent in many dental specialties, including General, Cosmetic and Restorative procedures. Premier Dentistry of Eagle is located in Eagle, Idaho at 467 South Rivershore Lane and is easily accessible to patients in the surrounding communities of Star, Middleton, Meridian, Garden City, and Boise. Call our office at (208) 546-0655 to make an appointment.

The first step is always the hardest, but Dr. Porter will provide the right incentive to help you succeed in quitting tobacco use. Your mouth and teeth will thank you for it!

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