You probably know by now that smoking is often disastrous for your health. The average life expectancy for smokers is 14 years shorter than the average life expectancy for a non-smoker, to give one frightening statistic. What you may not know about, however, are the serious afflictions that smoking an cause in your mouth.
Periodontal disease is more likely and more harmful for smokers. Smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells and reduces the blood flow in the gums and supporting tissues of the tooth, thus making them more likely to become inflamed. It makes you more susceptible to infections and, through impairing blood flow to the gums and alveolar bone, slows the healing process.
This one needs little explanation. The nicotine and tar in tobacco can make your teeth yellow in a very short period of time and after a long period of regular tobacco use, you may even find your teeth to have turned brown.
Plaque and Tartar Buildup
Dental plaque is formed by bacteria attaching themselves to the tooth’s surface. Smoking can change the type of bacteria in plaque, introducing harmful bacteria to the tooth. Smoking causes an increase in plaque and tartar, which eventually leads to tooth decay and gum disease.
If you’ve ever been near a heavy smoker when they are speaking then you probably know this one already. The smell of smoke in the mouth lingers to become a musty smell, reminiscent of vomit, which is worsened by the dry mouth that smoking causes.
The most severe consequence on your teeth of habitual smoking is the increased likelihood of developing mouth cancer, which has an 83% survival rate when it is localized in the mouth, 62% when it has spread to nearby lymph nodes, and only 38% when it has spread to distant parts of the body. This is why it is important for smokers to receive oral cancer screenings in our office with our Vizilite cancer detection technology.
The only effective approach to reduce your likelihood of developing these problems is to quit smoking and tobacco products altogether. Regardless of how long you have used tobacco products, quitting now can greatly reduce serious risks to your health.