Family Dentist in Brunswick, ME Discusses Harmful Effects
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are about 36 million smokers in the United States. Although it has been shown that this number is in decline, this is still millions of people that are at risk of dental problems related to smoking.
Tobacco is bad for your teeth in more ways than one. Smoking can reduce your mouth’s ability to fight off infection and can leave you defenseless against bacteria.
Aside from putting you at a greater risk of bacterial infection, using tobacco has many other effects on your teeth.
• Discoloration – Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that stick to the enamel of your teeth. This can cause them to take on a yellow or stained color. Using teeth whitening treatments will help slow down and remove the stains, but if you continue to smoke, it will be impossible to reverse.
• Bad breath – Another side-effect of smoking is bad breath. The particles in cigarette smoke can stay in your mouth for a long time after you’ve smoked. This causes your breath to smell like a cigarette or ashtray. Aside from that, there are also longer-term effects from smoking that can cause bad breath. Smoking promotes the growth of bacteria, which in turn, leads to bad breath due to tooth decay, gum disease and infection.
• Gum disease – It is said that smokers are about twice as likely to develop gum disease than those who don’t smoke. This is because smoking inhibits your mouth’s ability to fight the overgrowth of bacteria, allowing it to build up and make its way into the gums. Over time, the gum tissue can start pulling away from the teeth, which will also weaken the underlying bone structure. This leads to periodontitis, which causes the teeth to fall out.
• Slower healing – Smoking also slows down your body’s ability to heal. This results in longer recovery time from dental procedures and can lower the success rate of some treatments.
• Cancer – One of the most severe oral complications related to smoking is oral cancer. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, there are about 50,000 in the United States that are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, of them, 80% are smokers.
The best way to avoid these complications is to quit smoking completely. It is a good idea to talk to your family dentist in Brunswick, ME or doctor to see what treatments are available to you.