It’s a well-known fact that smoking can affect your lungs, heart, and other parts of your body. But did you know that smoking can also cause trouble with your oral health? In fact, smokers are at increased risk for several diseases and complications that affect the mouth, teeth, and gums. In celebration of the Great American Smokeout, which aims to help current smokers make a plan to quit, your dentist in Boise wants to share a few ways that smoking can put your oral health at risk.
How Does Smoking Affect Oral Health?
Not only does smoking increase the likelihood of developing serious overall health problems such as certain cancers, but it can also cause damage to your oral health.
- Tooth Staining
Cigarettes contain a boatload of ingredients, chemicals, and carcinogens, which is anything that is known to cause cancer. But each cigarette also contains nicotine, the addictive ingredient, and tar in the tobacco. Both nicotine and tar can cause tooth staining. Smokers’ teeth may be noticeably yellow or can have brown spots.
- Gum Disease
Besides the negative cosmetic side effects of smoking, there are real health risks associated with smoking. One of those risks is gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection in the gums that may display signs of red, swollen, painful gums, or gums that bleed during brushing or flossing. But that’s not all. Gum disease has also been linked to various whole-health issues including heart disease, respiratory infections, dementia, and diabetes.
- Tooth Loss
While we’re on the topic of gum disease, it’s important to note that it’s also one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Since people who smoke are more likely to get gum disease, it means they’re also more likely to experience tooth loss. One of the worst parts about gum disease is if it’s not caught early, the infection can be irreversible. This is one reason why it’s so important to see your dentist in Boise regularly so they can check for early signs of gum disease and treat it quickly.
- Oral Cancer
Perhaps the most common word associated with smoking is cancer. Any type of cancer diagnosis can be scary, including oral cancer. According to the American Lung Association, smokers are ten times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers. But it’s not just cigarettes that can increase this risk. Smokeless tobacco, cigars, and pipe tobacco all contain cancer-causing carcinogens and can increase the risk of oral cancer.
Making a plan to quit smoking and utilizing the resources available to you can help make what may now seem like the impossible, possible. If you are interested in quitting, let your dentist in Boise help you learn how you can start improving your oral health the minute you put out that last cigarette.