Tobacco and Your Oral Health
There are a variety of ways people consume tobacco. They might smoke cigarettes or cigars. Others use chewing tobacco. While health risks such as lung cancer and heart disease are well-known, tobacco can also be detrimental to your oral health. Consider the impact of tobacco on your teeth and gums and what you can do about it.
Risks Associated with Tobacco and Oral Health
Smoking and chewing tobacco boost your risk of dental problems. If you’ve been ignoring the warning labels on tobacco products, it’s time to pay attention and take action. Using tobacco puts you at an increased risk of gum disease, throat and mouth cancer, and tooth decay. Plus, it can take longer to heal after oral surgery, and you might not be able to get dental implants if you experience tooth loss as a result of smoking.
The best way to avoid these dental problems is to quit smoking. Some people find brushing their teeth helps them avoid smoking or chewing tobacco because they prefer the fresh feeling in their mouths. There are many ways to kick the habit, including smoking cessation clinics, acupuncture, hypnosis, and more. Talk to your doctor and dentist about ways to quit tobacco.
How Tobacco Impacts Your Oral Functions
On a daily basis, the use of tobacco also has a negative impact on basic oral functions. Smokers often have bad breath that is difficult to get rid of, even when they brush, floss, and use oral rinses. The smell lingers on the smoker’s breath. Plus, tobacco causes staining on a person’s teeth and tongue. Many smokers have yellowed or brownish teeth due to the nicotine residue from smoking or chewing tobacco.
This can make them fell self-conscious about smiling or opening their mouths. Also, tobacco users experience a diminished sense of smell and taste. This means they enjoy their favorite foods less because they can’t fully taste or smell them. And smokers frequently experience dry mouth. Saliva rinses away bacteria in the mouth.
A lack of saliva means more bacteria that clings to the teeth and lead to dental decay. The result can be cavities, root canals, and extractions. These are all real-life reasons to quit using tobacco and protect your oral health.
How to Care for Your Smoker’s Teeth
The first step toward taking care of your teeth is to quit smoking. Even if you haven’t quit yet, it’s time to take control of your oral hygiene. Make an appointment with a dentist to get a routine exam and x-rays to determine the extent of the damage done to your teeth. If your teeth are stained from nicotine, tooth whitening can help make them whiter and brighter. In just one or two sessions, you can see a visible difference that can help inspire you to put away the tobacco forever.
Long-term smokers may have tooth decay, receding gums, sore gums, and other dental problems. This could require filling cavities, root canal, or extractions. You will need to stop smoking so your mouth can heal after procedures such as extractions.
And you may not have the option of getting dental implants to replace lost teeth until you quit smoking for awhile. Talk to your dentist about how you can improve the health and appearance of your teeth after smoking.
Smoking can lead to a myriad of health problems including dental decay and oral cancer. It is important to find a way to help you quit smoking so you can improve your oral health. Visit a Hammond dentist to determine what you can do to help prevent dental decay and gum disease while you take steps to become a non-smoker.