The Damaging Effects of Smoking on Teeth and Gums

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The first negative health concern people generally associate with smoking is lung cancer. However, it actually can harm other areas of your body, including your dental health. Besides yellow teeth from smoking, tobacco use puts you at risk of severe oral health issues. 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are connected to chewing tobacco and smoking. Read on to learn more about the adverse effects of tobacco use from our dental team at LANCO Dental Care in Lancaster, PA and how quitting is good for your oral health.

The dangers of smoking or tobacco use

It is no secret that chewing tobacco and smoking are both addictive habits that are hard to stop. It not only jeopardizes your health but can also harm your teeth and gums. About one in every five adults in this country uses tobacco products daily. However, tobacco use is the number one preventable disease in the United States. Vaping, smoking, and chewing tobacco have been linked to severe health concerns, such as:

  • Oral cancer, including esophagus, throat, mouth, cheek, lip, tongue, and gum
  • Heart disease
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay or cavities
  • Diabetes
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis

Does smoking damage your teeth and gums?

Smoking not only increases your risk of oral cancer, the longer you do it, the more damage you will incur to your oral health. Lancaster, PA patients, who are smokers, are more likely to develop plaque and tartar buildup than nonsmokers, leading to gum or periodontal disease. Chemicals in tobacco products affect the saliva flow in the mouth, making it easier for harmful bacteria to stick to teeth and gums. Filmy, sticky plaque can develop along the gumline and teeth, which hardens if not removed. Smokers are three times more likely to develop periodontal disease, which can eventually lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Other adverse effects of smoking on your teeth and gums are:

  • Cosmetic concerns, such as yellow teeth from smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Bad breath or chronic halitosis
  • Restrictive blood flow interferes with normal gum tissue function
  • Delayed healing after oral surgery or any type of dental procedure
  • Irritates the gumline or tissue, making it easier for bacteria to settle in and develop decay
  • Increase risk of throat, mouth, or lip cancer
  • More susceptible to bone loss

Your oral health and the effect of smoking on your teeth

If you use tobacco products or smoke, reduce the risk of oral health problems by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once. Visit a dentist every six months for professional teeth cleanings and checkups. However, if possible, quit smoking or at least cut back. Research shows that smokers who cut back to half a pack a day can significantly reduce their risk of developing periodontal disease. While vaping is considered less harmful to gum tissue when compared to traditional smoking, it still isn't a safe alternative.

Get the help you need to protect your teeth and gums by contacting the dental experts at LANCO Dental Care in Lancaster, PA. To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact one of our team members or schedule online today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.