Smoking obviously has negative consequences for your overall health, but it also takes a big toll on your teeth. Tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of death in the United States, and it’s also the leading cause of mouth cancer. But smoking also has a number of other potential side effects for your mouth, and as dentists, we really wish you’d give up the habit. Here’s a look at all the other problems smoking can cause for your mouth.
Smoking and Your Dental Health
Did you know that nearly 50 million Americans smoke cigarettes? That number seems preposterous considering all of the harmful side effects of tobacco. For your mouth alone, tobacco use has been linked to:
- Bad breath
- Tooth discoloration
- Gum disease
- Decreased bone density
- Bone loss in the jaw
- A number of different types of oral cancer
- Decreased taste ability
- Decreased ability to treat gum disease
And those are just the reasons that affect your mouth. When you add in things like an increased risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s, it’s easy to see why giving up tobacco can be the best thing you do for your body.
Another big reason why we want smokers to reevaluate their tobacco use is because smoking is linked to two other related dental issues. Smokers are less likely to visit a dentist, which means they aren’t getting treatment as often as they should, especially considering they are high risk for certain conditions. Smokers are also more likely to incorrectly believe that they’ve already done enough damage to their teeth, that there is little point to stopping at this point in their life. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
The effects of smoking begin to reverse themselves as soon as the smoker gives up the habit. That’s not to say that your teeth will revert back to pearly whites as soon as you go a week without smoking, but it’s never too late to invest your your dental health. We can help you develop a dental care plan that can reverse some of the damage caused by smoking and prevent future issues. For more information, or to speak to a team member about setting up your next appointment, reach out to Dr. Brooks’ office today.
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