The New Year is coming up fast and it’s a great time to make those new resolutions. If you smoke then you might be amongst one of the thousands of people every year who resolve to quit. There are many great reasons for trying to give up smoking and one of these is the effect it has on your teeth and gums. Retaining a nice healthy smile can be a good incentive to quit.
How Smoking Affects Your Dental Health
Apart from giving you bad breath and staining your teeth, smoking affects your gum tissue. It causes the blood vessels in your gums to become narrower so they are less able to transport nutrients that are essential for healing and for fighting infections and at the same time they are less able to carry away toxins. This can affect your ability to heal after tooth extractions and may mean you cannot have dental implant surgery without there being a considerable risk of failure.
If you smoke, you’re at greater risk of developing periodontal disease which is a form of advanced gum disease. This is at least in part because smoking can lead to an increase in the build-up of plaque and tartar on your teeth. Periodontal disease can be an extremely serious condition, not least because it’s an inflammatory disease and it’s been linked to general health conditions. If you have periodontal disease you’re more risk of developing certain health conditions or any existing conditions such as diabetes can worsen.
You are also at increased risk of developing a condition called leukoplakia that causes white patches to develop on the inside of the mouth. Leukoplakia is not actually harmful, but it is thought it could be a precursor to oral cancer, so if you develop this condition it is worth getting it checked out by our dentist in Ladbroke Grove. As a smoker, you are at increased risk of developing oral cancer, a potentially life threatening condition. This is partly why we urge all our patients to come and visit us at regular intervals as Ladbroke Grove Dental Care does provide regular screenings for mouth cancer as part of a dental check-up.
Is it Safe to Use Smokeless Tobacco Products?
Smokeless tobacco products are no safer than cigarettes or cigars as it’s been found that chewing tobacco and snuff contain multiple chemicals that can increase the risk of oral cancer or cancer of the oesophagus and the throat. In fact these products can contain more nicotine than cigarettes, making the habit even harder to quit. In addition, some smokeless tobacco products have sugars added to them to enhance the flavour, increasing the risk of tooth decay. The tobacco can also irritate gum tissue, causing gum recession, exposing the tooth roots and again putting you at higher risk of decay.
If you do need help in quitting smoking, please ask our dentist in Ladbroke Grove for information and support. Once you do manage to quit or cut down, it’s surprising how quickly this can make a real difference to your dental health, not to mention your wallet. Call us to book an appointment on 020 7727 9836.
Most of know that smoking is bad for us and that it impacts on dental health too. From a physical aspect it can stain the teeth a dull yellowish shade and also cause the breath to smell unpleasant. However it can also do a lot more damage to your mouth which isn’t always visible to the eye. A dentist in Southend explains:
- It can cause an excess build up of plaque and tartar
- Increase the risk of developing gum disease
- Cause bone loss within the jaw
- Decreases the rate of success of certain dental treatments
- Raises the recovery time following oral surgery
- Increases the risk of oral infections
Ultimately, smoking is also proven to increase the risk of developing oral cancer. So it’s true to say that smoking and oral health don’t mix. But what about other forms of smoking – how dangerous are they? Our dentist in Southend had this to say:
E-Cigarettes – Many smokers have changed to ‘vaping’ which is considered a healthier and more affordable option to smoking. Since it’s a relatively new concept it’s still unknown what impact this has on a person’s oral health. Since they don’t contain the harmful chemicals of traditional cigarettes or produce smoke you’d except them to be a healthier option for the teeth. However they do still contain nicotine which reduces the level of saliva produced in the mouth. This can lead to Dry Mouth which in turn can increase the level of bacteria in the mouth and cause tooth decay.
Nicotine gum – Millions of people in the UK try nicotine gum every year in an attempt to stop smoking, but these too can cause certain oral problems such as blisters, sores, jaw pain and mouth irritations. However, what you have to bear in mind is that since the idea is that nicotine gum helps a person quit smoking, then they should only be chewing gum for a matter of weeks or months as opposed to the rest of their lives.
Shisha – Also known as hookah and bubble gum smoking is actually worse for a person than traditional cigarettes, according to studies. It’s estimated that Shisha smokers are 5 times more at risk of developing periodontal disease than people who don’t smoke. This compares to a risk of 3-8 times for a person smoking traditional cigarettes. Shisha smoking can also lead to dry mouth, bad breath, and an increased risk of oral cancer.
In conclusion smoking is not good for your teeth or oral health and even though some alternatives may be better for you in this respect, they also have certain oral side effects. Therefore the very best way to prevent smoking from impacting on your oral health is to stop altogether. As a Southend dentist it’s important that we tell you the risks of smoking but we’re also here to help and support you in any way we can. If you haven’t had a check-up in a while then why not pay Southend dental Care a visit. We can also carry out an oral cancer screening for your peace of mind. Call us today on 01702 465000 or make an appointment on line at www.southenddentalcare.co.uk. We’re a private and NHS dentist in Southend committing to providing the very best dental care to all our patients.