It’s no secret that smoking can have many detrimental effects on your physical health, however your oral health is one of the most effected. Alongside more common effects are the more serious, life-limiting ones, which you’ll definitely want to avoid. If you’re looking for the best oral health information in regards to smoking, you’ve come to the right place, as we’re here to provide you with the unignorably negative impact that smoking has on oral health.
More than 93% of oropharyngeal cancers (those that grow in the gullet part of the throat) are caused by smoking according to the NHS, and general cancer diagnosis is enhanced even further if you smoke, 6 times more in fact. While excessive use of alcohol alongside a poor diet can also contribute to mouth cancer, smoking poses the most risks. By stopping smoking, you can immediately decrease your risk of cancer, regardless if you are a ‘social smoker’ or heavy smoker. Once you’ve been smoke-free for 20 years, your odds of developing cancer will almost be the exact same as a non-smoker.
Problematic Gum Disease
Gum disease is highly common in both smokers and non-smokers, but smokers make the disease much more problematic and difficult to treat. By smoking to a large extent frequently, you will begin to hinder your immune system, as it causes inflammations particularly to the salivary gland that will make gum infections more likely and will stop blood flow to the gums. As a result, you will have a reduced ability to fully recover after surgery. Developing gum disease due to smoking can affect the bone and other supporting structures around your teeth, resulting in tooth loss if left untreated.
The tar and nicotine that is found in cigarettes, whether pack-bought or homemade, can stain your teeth an unappealing yellow color. This symptom of smoking doesn’t take very long to appear, and only develops more for the longer you smoke, turning an almost brown color for heavy smokers. This happens as, when you smoke, the tar and nicotine will settle into the oral cavity, seeping deeper through the microscopic openings in your enamel. While specific drinks and foods have the ability to stain teeth as well, nothing is as long-lasting as the effects of smoking.
As previously explained, the ignorance of gum disease can lead to your teeth eventually falling out, robbing you of the beautiful smile that you could have once had. In the UK, smoking is a major contributory factor to tooth loss, possibly the most major. Smoking simply accelerates the effects of gum disease, leading to periodontitis, which is a more advanced and developed gum disease. The bone in your jaw will become damaged if you don’t treat your gum disease, causing small spaces to open between the gum and teeth. As a result, your teeth will start to come loose and fall out.
Smoking can have many severe effects on your oral health, all of which can be completely avoidable by resisting the urge to light a cigarette. While it can be a challenge to stop smoking, especially for heavy smokers, the benefits definitely outweigh the risks.