Smoking and teeth are not a good combination. It is widely understood that smoking may have a number of adverse effects on smokers’ health. By the action of smoking as an oral activity, it is very important that smokers take extra care of their mouth and teeth. Proper oral care can minimize issues that arise through smoking.
Smoking and Teeth: Oral Problems Caused by Smoking
Smoking can cause serious health problems for one’s teeth and mouth. These issues are further exacerbated when proper dental health care is not carried out. Smokers experience a higher risk for developing gum disease. Periodontal disease, as it is also known, occurs when a buildup of plaque targets the tissue that makes up the gums, bone where teeth are embedded, and the ligaments that support tooth roots. Also at risk is the surface that connects the tooth to the bone. When bone and soft tissues are damaged by smoking, tooth loss will occur.
Smokers are also at higher risk for developing leukoplakia, which leads to throat, lung and oral cancers. Additionally, smokers experience a more difficult recovery from dental procedures such as periodontal treatments, dental implants and tooth extraction. Patients who smoke are at greater risk for developing dry sockets after surgery which produces severe pain as bone and nerve endings become exposed.
Smoking and teeth equal vanity issues as well. Unsightly plaque and tartar builds up more readily on smokers’ teeth. Tobacco additionally stains teeth and causes bad breath. Tobacco use can cause a condition known as black, hairy tongue and cause the tongue to turn either yellow, green, black or brown and give the appearance of being hairy. Smokers also experience diminished taste and smell.
Dental Hygiene Tips for Smokers
Smokers should see their dentist at least twice a year to ensure better oral health. At the same time, as they visit their dentist, smokers should have their teeth cleaned. Daily brushing, flossing, using a tongue scraper and mouthwash twice daily is a must. A toothbrush with stiff bristles and use of toothpaste developed just for smokers will help rout tartar and plaque.
In addition to practicing sound dental hygiene, smokers need to be careful of what they eat and drink to avoid staining their teeth. Limit consumption of coffee, tea and sodas and any acid-based foods that can cause enamel to break down
Given the greater risk for serious mouth illnesses, smokers should perform self-checks routinely. Look for sores around the face, mouth and neck. Recurrent mouth bleeding, lesions, swelling, lumps and red, white or dark patches inside the mouth should be noted. If you find any of these conditions, make an appointment to see your dentist. Lumps on the lips and gums could signal more serious health conditions. In the event that these are noted, see your physician immediately.
Smoking can be detrimental to your dental health. So it is very important that you see your dentist twice a year at least. If you do not have dental insurance, call EDP Dental Plans and enroll today. EDP offers discounted dental procedures, often from the same dentist you may be seeing now! Our plans are very affordable so give us a call today at (800) 777-1085.