How Can Smoking Affect Your Mouth’s Health?

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Smoking not only harms a person’s overall health, but it also damages the condition of the mouth.

Smoking increases the risks of tooth loss, but more importantly, it is the main cause of throat and oral cancers. In fact, smoking sets off 75% of all cancers of the mouth.

Smoking and overall health

Here are some facts of how smoking affects someone’s health:

·       The life expectancy of people who smoke is decreased by 14 years.

·       With every puff of cigarette a person breathes in 4,700 different chemicals.

·       More than 90% of all regular smokers began using tobacco at or before age 18.

Smoking and oral health

Although smoking and chewing tobacco does not increase the risk of having cavities, it can do lots of damage to the gums and other parts of the mouth:

·       The risk of tooth loss in smokers is twice more than in non-smokers.

·       Smoking is the main cause of throat and oral cancers.

·       Smoking increases periodontal disease (gum disease).

·       Smoking can cause inflammation of the salivary glands.

·       Smoking delays healing after tooth extraction and can lead to a temporary and painful condition known as dry socket.

·       Smokers have less success with periodontal treatments and dental implants.

Besides the significant and dangerous hazards mentioned above, other factors that smokers should consider include:

·       Smoking is a major source of bad breath.

·       The loss of taste and smell can be caused by smoking and chewing tobacco.

·       Smoking stains teeth reducing the aesthetics of a smile.

·       Smoking might produce constant plaque and tartar build up.

Recommendations for smokers

To say “stop smoking” is an easier thing said than done. Nicotine addiction can be very strong and hard to lose, that is why tobacco companies are so successful with their products. But to stop smoking is also the most effective way to eliminate all the hazards that tobacco can cause, not only to a person’s mouth but also to increase the changes of living a long and healthy life with the people we love.
Here some tips for smokers concerning their oral health:

·       Stop smoking or chewing tobacco.

·       Have regular checkups with the dentist in order to verify the state of the gums and make sure no oral cancer is developing.

·       Maintain a thorough oral hygiene plan by regularly brushing, flossing, using mouthwash and tongue cleaner, and by having regular professional cleanings at the dentist’s office.

·       Learn how to do an oral cancer self examination:

  • Check for any sores at the face, neck or mouth level that do not heal within two weeks.
  • Check for repeated bleeding in the mouth.
  • Check for white, red or dark patches on the cheeks, palate, tongue, or under the tongue; if such lesions do not disappear after two weeks, have them checked by a dentist.
  • Check for swellings, lumps or bumps on your lips, gums, or other areas in the mouth.

Notice any numbness, pain or loss of feeling in any area of the mouth.

Guest post by Dr Anto Yossef from Studio Dentaire

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