How Smoking Affects Your Teeth
If you’re a smoker, you’ve probably been shamed and guilted about your habit more than you care to admit. At Wayne Dental Care, we’re not in the business of making you feel guilty; you already know that smoking is bad for you. What we want to do, instead, is keep you informed about how cigarettes and other tobacco products affect your teeth.
- Staining — The enamel that protects your teeth is porous, so it’s vulnerable to stains caused by highly-pigmented food and drinks (like mustard and coffee) as well as tobacco. You’ve probably noticed that the fingers you use to smoke are yellowed from the constant exposure to smoke. Well, the exact same thing happens to your teeth. If brushing your teeth after each cigarette isn’t possible, then rinse your mouth to minimize some of the residues that remain.
- Gum Health — Healthy gums are cozied right up to the teeth, but when you smoke, your gums become irritated and can pull away from your teeth. This puts you at greater risk for gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss. It also delays the healing process for those who require periodontal treatments. While healthy people should visit the dentist every six months, smokers need to visit with more frequency to reduce the chances of periodontal disease.
- Oral Cancers — It’s no secret that smoking is associated with lung cancer, but cigarettes and other tobacco products can cause oral cancers, as well. This is yet another reason why smokers should visit the dentist often, for what might seem like an innocuous white patch on the inside of your cheek could be identified as precancerous by a professional. If you see your dentist regularly, they can catch oral cancers when they’re easiest to treat: in the early stages.
The best possible thing you can do for your health is to quit smoking or using other tobacco products altogether. If you’re not there yet, at least you know how it’s affecting your teeth and what you can do to lessen some of the side effects. Whatever you do, don’t avoid making a trip to the dentist for fear of being judged. If you live in or near Wayne, Pennsylvania, contact our office to schedule an appointment. Whether you smoke or not, we want to be part of your health care team.