How does smoking affect your oral health?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 14 out of every 100 adults in the United States of America aged 18 years or older (14.0%) smoked cigarettes in 2019. This equates to an estimated 34.1 million adult smokers in the United States. Over 16 million Americans are affected by a smoking-related condition.
Smoking has a detrimental effect on the lungs and the gums and teeth due to the nicotine included in the tobacco used to make the cigarettes. Yes, smoking has a detrimental effect on the health of your gums and teeth; a pale stain is one of the most common symptoms that smoking is wreaking havoc on your dental structure.
If you are a heavy smoker or a chain smoker, you will likely have a pale stain on your teeth. Additionally, depending on your oral hygiene and teeth cleaning habits, you may experience other symptoms such as tooth decay, cavities, tooth sensitivity, poor breath, or other oral disorders.
The majority of people know that smoking can quickly convert dazzling whites into not-so-whites. Even if you do not smoke a pack a day, regular tobacco usage can discolor your teeth from white to yellow or brown. The more cigarettes you smoke, the more quickly you may detect tooth yellowing.
Individuals who smoke frequently develop what is referred to as a smoker’s breath, a stale odor generated by the cigarette smoke that is remaining in their throat and lungs. Additionally, smoking leaves chemical compounds in your tongue, which can combine with your saliva, resulting in bad breath.
The mouth may become dry as a result of smoking, which also reduces saliva production. This allows cigarette chemicals and other microorganisms in the mouth to thrive in the absence of saliva to regulate their activities.
Tobacco and tobacco smoke can cause substantial damage to the mouth, although most people think of oral cancer and gum disease when they think of tobacco and tobacco smoke. While these are essential factors to consider, few people equate smoking and tobacco use with the type of tooth decay that dentists frequently see in their patients.
Large cavities along the gum line can result in infections and fragile teeth, which can eventually break. Broken teeth will require repair, which can be costly and painful in many circumstances.
Cigarette smoking can result in gum disease.
Gum and bone inflammation and infection are the primary causes of periodontal disease, which affects the gums and bones that support the teeth. Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, can cause the gums to swell and bleed. A more severe form of periodontitis occurs when the gums pull away from the teeth, bone is lost, and teeth become loose or fall off. The chances of developing periodontal disease are higher in adults. Tooth decay and periodontal disease are the two most severe dangers to dental health.
Bacteria cause gum disease, and food particles called dental plaque.
If plaque is left on the teeth and gums, it hardens into calculus or tartar. Plaque and calculus irritate the gums in the area of the teeth. This is frequently observed in smokers.
Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two phases of gum disease.
Without treatment for periodontitis, the structures that attach the tooth to the gum might become destroyed. Teeth may grow loose, fall out on their own, or require extraction by a dentist.
If periodontal disease is allowed to fester for an extended length of time, the infection can migrate to surrounding tissue and bone, causing them to deteriorate. If periodontal disease is not treated and the condition is not resolved, bone loss can occur over time.
The periodontal disease might progress to the point that surgical intervention is required to repair damaged bone. In some of these cases, bone transplants and corrective surgery are necessary.
How about vaping?
Among adolescents, e-cigarettes, particularly the disposable variety, are more popular than any other form of tobacco. According to the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey, there were about 2 million middle and high school students using e-cigarettes in the United States in 2021, with about eight out of ten using flavored e-cigarettes.
While many people believe that vaping is not as dangerous to oral health as smoking cigarettes, vaping can be detrimental to teeth and general oral health. When heated with high-voltage batteries, e-cigarettes emit formaldehyde. The aerosol or vapor breathed by users may contain nicotine, ultrafine particles capable of being inhaled deeply into the lungs, substances associated with lung illness, volatile organic compounds, carcinogens, and heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead.
Exposure to e-cigarette aerosol can increase oral bacteria, which has been linked to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. Additionally, it can result in a dry mouth, irritated gums, and other complications. Cavities can occur due to the flavoring capsules in e-cigarettes, increasing the risk of developing chronic lung diseases.
Prioritizing your oral health
No matter how long you’ve been a smoker, quitting today can significantly lower your chance of serious health problems in the future. People who had never smoked were no more likely to have periodontal (gum) disease than those who had never smoked after 11 years of abstinence.
Even cutting back on your smoking seems to make a difference. Only three times the chance of developing gum disease was identified in smokers who cut back on their habit to half a pack per day, compared to the six times higher risk observed in individuals who smoke more than a pack and a half per day.
It is not a matter of how long smoking takes to impact your teeth and oral health, but of when. And even though smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States, quitting smoking is a complex process. Keep in mind that your dental professionals are available to assist you with the majority of oral care difficulties.
Incorporate regular visits to a dental professional like an orthodontist in Stafford, Virginia. With regular visits, your dental team can assist in developing a program to kick-start the quitting process while also contributing significantly to the support system you’ll require. Yes, brushing and flossing regularly can benefit your smile. The remainder of your oral health is entirely up to you. That begins with putting down the cigarette and choosing health.