If you’ve ever wondered, “Does smoking affect the teeth?”, this article is for you.
If you’re thinking of giving up and need something to motivate you, read our post on the effects of smoking on your teeth.
We’ll explain what these are, as well as the effects of quitting smoking on the teeth and gums…it could be that little extra nudge you need to quit.
The effects of smoking on your teeth and gums
One of the most obvious effects of smoking on your mouth is that it can cause your breath to smell unpleasant. This is most apparent immediately after you’ve smoked, but the odour can linger for some time afterwards too.
You’ve probably also noticed that the nicotine and tar in cigarettes can result in yellowish stains on your teeth, which are hard to remove without professional whitening treatment.
Did you know that smoking increases your risk of gum disease as well? Gum disease occurs when bacteria and tartar (hardened plaque) build up beneath the gumline. It’s more prevalent in smokers because the nicotine in cigarettes impedes the production of saliva, which means tartar and bacteria accumulate more readily.
If left unmanaged, gum issues can lead to periodontal disease, which is a serious, irreversible condition. It can even result in tooth loss, so it’s definitely something you want to avoid.
You may also suffer from smoker’s tongue, also known as leukoplakia. This appears as thick white patches on your tongue, which can appear in other areas of your mouth too. While this condition is usually benign, it can also be associated with oral cancer.
It’s important to know that smoking is also a risk factor for oral cancer. According to the Cancer Council, around 59% of oral cancer cases in Australia are due to smoking. Symptoms of oral cancer include loose teeth, white or red patches in the mouth, a lump on the neck and any sore or swelling on the lips that won’t heal.
If you notice these or any other worrying symptoms, it’s important that you consult your dentist or doctor so you can get the help you need.
What happens when you quit smoking?
The good news is that if you quit smoking, you reduce the risk of these unpleasant effects on your oral health.
You will also reap the reward of many other health benefits, including less chance of lung disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and premature skin ageing, to name just a few.
See your GP to know more about the support you can get to help you quit smoking.
Oral hygiene for smokers
If you’re a smoker, it’s really important to keep up a good oral hygiene routine. Here are some of our tips to help keep your teeth, gums and mouth healthy:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Don’t forget to brush along the gumline and your tongue too.
- Floss your teeth once a day.
- Use a tongue scraper.
- Rinse with antibacterial mouthwash after brushing your teeth.
- Book regular checkups with your dentist.
- Be aware of the signs of gum disease, mouth cancer and other conditions that affect the mouth, teeth and gums. See your dentist straight away if you are worried.
Your dentist in Te Atatu is here to help
If you’re a smoker and are worried about your oral hygiene, know that the team here at Opal Dental is here to help.
Give us a call to fix an appointment — it’s a good idea to keep up with your checkups so that if you have a problem, it’s easier to treat.
And don’t hesitate to contact us anytime if you notice anything unusual — we’re just a phone call away!