Most people take teeth and gums for granted. It is only until they feel pain in their mouth or until they start to lose teeth that they start to think about how important it is to take care of one’s teeth and gums. Smoking is one of the leading causes of bad teeth and gums. It can be hard to notice the negative effects of smoking since it accumulates over the years, while the smoker only notices the signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath when their teeth are already in bad shape.
Smoking has become a major health concern around the globe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking kills nearly 6 million people every year. The habit is associated with various diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even tooth decay. In addition, it causes serious damage to teeth and gums.
It is important to note that tobacco smoke contains over 4,500 chemicals that cause gum disease. This means that smokers are at risk of developing periodontal disease.
In this article, we will discuss the effects of smoking on your healthy teeth and gums. We will also look into how you can prevent them from happening.
Ways Smoking Affects Teeth and Gums
Smoking is not just bad for your health; it is also bad for your teeth and gums. This type of oral pollution can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.
Smoking releases nicotine and tar into the mouth and throat, which irritates the gums and stomach lining and can lead to chronic stomach ulcers. Long-term smoking can also result in a dry mouth due to throat constricting and saliva production. When saliva production is inhibited, the mouth is left vulnerable to food particles, bacteria, and plaque, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
The chemicals in cigarettes can cause teeth to stain and gum recession. This, combined with the damage caused by the heat and saliva, can deteriorate gum and tooth health. To minimize the effects of smoking on your teeth, chew sugarless gum, drink water, and brush at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste. Start off with an electric toothbrush, which cleans much better than manual brushing.
People who smoke tobacco often develop periodontal disease. Smoking causes teeth to become yellowish, flaky, and brittle. The nicotine in cigarettes also damages gum tissue, leading to gingivitis. Many smokers also suffer from other diseases such as lung cancer.
Smokers are at risk of developing gum disease because of their poor brushing techniques and bad lifestyle habits. Their tongues get dry and sticky due to the use of tobacco products. When they brush and floss their teeth, they may miss spots where plaque and tartar buildup occurs. The constant presence of sugar-based foods inside their mouths makes decay easy.
While all these things occur with smoking, they do not happen every time someone smokes a cigarette, only when there is enough tar buildup in the lungs to start causing damage.
The Effects Of Smoking On Your Teeth And Gums
Some people believe that smoking does not affect your teeth or gums. However, studies have shown that smokers are twice as likely to have periodontal disease than non-smokers. Periodontal diseases are serious because they can lead to tooth loss, cardiovascular disease, or other systemic diseases. Smoking also reduces saliva production, so the teeth are not as well protected against acids, bacteria, and other toxins.
Smoking can increase the chances of tooth loss by 78%. It also increases the risk of gingivitis. Gingivitis is where the gum tissue becomes inflamed. This can lead to chronic mouth infections. Smoking also affects your mouth tissue by changing saliva composition. It increases the risk of mouth ulcers. The mouth has a high concentration of nicotine receptors, which changes the mouth’s immune response.
If you are not committed to quitting, you are not committed to your health.
It is crazy how much smokers neglect their health in the name of smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes are destructive to our bodies in so many ways. They are detrimental for arteries throughout the entire body, cause different types of cancers, wreak havoc on the skin, cause respiratory problems, and are terrible for your teeth. Smoking stains teeth cause gum disease and increase the risk of tooth loss.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease by Smoking
The first sign of gum disease is bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, which may be caused by poor oral hygiene habits like smoking and drinking too much coffee. If left untreated, gum disease could lead to tooth loss and other complications such as heart conditions. Here are some warning signs of gum disease and ways to get rid of them:
- Receding gums – Receding gums indicate gum deterioration due to a lack of proper oral hygiene. You must use dental floss and brush thoroughly daily.
- Loose teeth – Smokers often develop bone spurs in their throats, causing teeth to erupt into the mouth. When this happens, it can create pockets where bacteria thrive.
- Bad breath – Smoking affects the way the oxygen-carrying blood interacts with the cells throughout the entire body. That includes parts that help make saliva, such as salivary glands. As a result, bad breath becomes more frequent amongst smokers.
- Yellow or brown spots on the tongue – These spots are harmless, but if you notice darker discoloration all around the edges or under the nail bed, then it’s time to see the dentist. Bacteria accumulate in the spaces between the roots of your teeth and beneath the surface of your tongue. This accumulation creates a sticky film called plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar is composed mainly of calcium and phosphate deposits. The buildup of tartar irritates the soft tissues inside your mouth and leads to infections and cavities.
- Bad taste – Saliva helps remove food debris from your mouth, so there’s no need to worry if your taste buds are altered by tobacco. However, if you find yourself experiencing a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth, then it means that there is something wrong with the state of your gums. To treat it, you should visit your dentist, who will provide you with the necessary care.
Types of Smokes That Are Bad For Your Oral Health
By using flavored smokes, the user gives their personal preferences more important than the potential effect that smoking may have on oral health. Some people believe that flavored tobaccos are lower in nicotine content.
This is not the case at all; the nicotine intake remains the same regardless of whether there is added flavoring or not. Irrespective of whether flavoring is added or not, the amount of smoke inhaled during cigarette smoking remains the same. Hence, the concentration of tar, carbon monoxide, and other toxins will remain unaffected. Therefore, whether the product contains a flavor or not doesn’t matter much. Instead, what matters is how much of these harmful substances you breathe into your lungs.
Flavored smokes are often marketed as safer, but even unflavored cigarettes contain high levels of poisonous chemicals. Also, unfiltered cigarettes are worse than filtered ones because they cause more damage to one’s gums and mouth tissues.
Unfiltered cigarettes contain more carcinogens than filtered ones. Additionally, since filters trap only the bottom half of the burning end of a cigarette, many of the harmful chemicals get trapped inside the filter itself. Then, they become part of the “smoke” inhaled by the smoker.
Finally, it should be noted that switching between different tobacco products can make a difference. For example, smoking an unfiltered cigarette after having smoked a filtered one increases the risk of developing oral cancer.
Do Pipe and Cigar Smoking Cause Dental Problems?
Yes, smoking cigars and cigarettes cause dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease and lead to other health issues like cancer. The smoke contains chemicals that irritate gum tissue and damage teeth. If you’re constantly blowing smoke into your mouth, your gums will be continuously irritated, which leads to bad breath and cavities. You may develop gum disease if you smoke for long periods, eventually leading to tooth loss.
Other effects include:
- Periodontal disease is a highly inflammatory condition caused by bacterial deposits forming plaque around teeth.
- Gum disease causes the gums to recede, exposing the roots of teeth.
- Infected gums bleed easily and may loosen teeth.
- Gingivitis becomes periodontitis if left untreated.
- Bleeding gums
- Painful teeth
- Lumps under the skin of the jawbone
- Redness of gums
The good news about quitting smoking is that you won’t experience any adverse side effects once you do so. While some experts claim that long-term cigar and cigarette smoke might improve your sense of smell, others say it could harm it!
In addition to making your mouth more sensitive to odors, tobacco smoke has been shown to impair olfactory function and slow down cellular regeneration processes. Since the olfactory system plays a critical role in detecting danger signals from food sources, it makes sense that smokers may find certain foods less appealing since their sense of taste and smell may be affected.
As far as the impact on your physical appearance, the truth is there’s no denying that cigarette smoking leaves its mark. The first thing you know is going to happen; you start getting wrinkles – wrinkles that won’t go away. You might look older before your time, but not everyone wants to appear as if they’re past retirement age. There are plenty of anti-aging remedies available today that are well worth considering.
If this happens, go to your dentist immediately to prevent further complications. It is recommended that you consult with your doctor before reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke. At ToothHQ, we offer consultation services at our offices. We’ll help you identify ways to lower your intake and quit smoking altogether. And if you already feel dental problems due to smoking, call us at 214-731-0123 to book your appointment.