How Smoking Affects Your Oral Health

man in glasses and warm clothes smoking cigarette on the street If you smoke, you are probably tired of everyone – from your mom to your doctor – telling you that you should quit. It can be a difficult thing to do, but if you need one more reason, you might want to consider how smoking may be negatively affecting your oral health and how your smile looks.

The Harm That Nicotine Can Do

You have probably noticed that smoking (and using other types of tobacco) leads to yellow (or even brownish) teeth, and you may notice that you have bad breath more often than not. However, it can cause even more serious damage to your oral health. Here are some problems you may be at higher risk for if you use tobacco:

  • Gum disease. Smoking increases production of bacterial plaque, which can lead to gum disease. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, which can make it difficult for gums to heal when they have gum disease.
  • Tooth loss. The increase in dental plaque and gum disease leads to tooth loss. One study showed that almost half of adults over the age of 65 who smoke have lost all of their teeth.
  • Oral cancer. Tobacco increases your odds of getting not only lung and throat cancer, but also oral cancer. Even smokeless tobacco increases your risk for oral cancer.
  • Untreated tooth decay. Studies also show that adults over the age of 65 who smoke are twice as likely to have tooth decay that remains untreated than those who don’t smoke.

If you use tobacco, your dentist may advise you to come in for cleanings and check ups more often than just twice a year. These appointments are important for removing stains on your teeth, making sure your gums and teeth are in good health, and for checking your tongue, cheeks, and throat for any signs of cancer.

There are other things that could affect your Oral Health: Is Stress Affecting Your Oral Health? and Is your birth control affecting your oral health?

When you have used tobacco for years, you need to be extra vigilant about taking care of your oral health, and the staff at Soft Touch Dentistry can help! Contact the Brighton office at (617) 782-9250 or the Newton office at (617) 332-8146 for an appointment today!

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