5 Dental Health Concerns for Smokers
For thousands of years, people have attempted to unearth the secret to a long and fulfilling life. Many individuals think that life expectancy has everything to do with genetics, however, this is not quite the case. In fact, genetics accounts for just 25 percent of a person’s longevity; the rest is entirely in your hands. While we may not have the power to influence a plentitude of factors, there is one guaranteed way to reverse the clock and remain youthful for longer: stop smoking!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking continues to remain the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, spawning more than 480,000 deaths a year, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.
Yes, smoking kills but before you do eventually succumb to its ill-effects, you could experience formidable health conditions from smoking, including in your mouth! Here are some of the most gruesome effects of smoking on dental health!
1. Stained teeth and gums
One of the least deleterious effects of smoking is the yellowing of teeth and staining of the gums. Your teeth are composed of microscopic pores that can be easily permeable to some substances. Nicotine and tar contained in tobacco are absorbed into these pores, giving the teeth a yellow or brown discoloration. Not only do stained teeth look unappealing but if left untreated for a prolonged period can cause many serious conditions.
2. Interfered blood circulation
Many chemicals in cigarettes have the potential to damage your heart. Two primary chemicals, nicotine and carbon monoxide cause your blood vessels to constrict or narrow. This limits or severs the amount of blood flow that reaches your organs and bodily tissues. Due to this restricted blood flow, gum tissues cannot function as normal, thereby leading to delayed healing (after oral surgery) and many dangerous infections.
3. Aggravates gum disease
Tobacco affects normal saliva production and flow in the mouth. This means that you no longer have enough saliva to cleanse stray food debris and particles in your mouth causing them to stick to your teeth and gums. Soon, bacteria-laden plaque biofilms develop on your teeth and along the gum line. If you fail to remove them, they harden into tartar that is responsible for gum disease.
Smokers are three to six times more likely to develop gum disease or periodontal disease (i.e, widespread infection of the gums and hard tissues) that can attack tooth roots and cause teeth to eventually fall out.
4. Causes cancer
Exposure to harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco can cause mutations in the healthy cells of your mouth and throat. This increases your risk of developing oral cancer. Smoking is blameworthy for 20 percent of all cancers and about 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States.
According to the HHS, approximately 9 out of 10 lung cancer are caused by smoking. Smokers face the risk of cancers in the mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), and tongue.
5. Brings about bad breath and dull taste
Smoking elevates the risk of the proliferation of bacterial plaque on the teeth. This can inevitably lead to bad breath and a muted sense of smell and taste. Furthermore, bacterial buildup in the mouth following a repeated history of smoking is also responsible for tooth decay and cavities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) informs that those who stop smoking around 40 years of age gain 9 years of life expectancy compared with those who continue to smoke. Stopping smoking as early as possible is important but cessation at any age can significantly prolong and improve your quality of life. If you’re tormented by the effects of smoking and would like to stop this horrible habit, contact your doctor to enroll in their special smoking cessation program! Stop smoking, start living!
1. American Dental Association, “Smoking and Tobacco”-
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Smoking, Gum Disease, and Tooth Loss”-