It is very well known that smoking isn't very good for you. You are probably very well aware that smoking causes a number of nasty diseases including lung conditions, cancers and heart problems. What you might not be fully aware are the shocking effects that smoking can have on your teeth and oral health.
There are a number of oral and dental problems that can occur as a direct result of smoking. By kicking the habit you can reduce the chances of getting cancer and gum disease and also improve your response to any treatment you have.
This means fewer trips to the dentist — good for those with dental anxiety.
The most common dental problems that smokers will encounter include the following:
Poor response to healing
If you have a tooth extraction (removal) you are more likely to suffer with a 'dry socket'. This commonly happens after wisdom teeth are removed and generally starts to flare up around three or four days after the extraction. It happens when the blood clot designed to form to heal the wound is dislodged or lost. The nerves and bone are still exposed as the wound hasn't been given a chance to heal. This can lead to severe pain not only in the tooth (or teeth) but also radiating along your face and jaw.
Rejection of implants
As well as being more likely to experience high levels of pain after surgery at the dental clinic, including having implants, there is a higher chance that the implants themselves will be rejected by your mouth as a direct result of your smoking habit and poor healing.
Although not directly bad for your health, stained teeth can seriously affect your confidence and self esteem. Teeth whitening is now incredibly popular and more accessible. Your dental clinic can recommend an appropriate treatment for you either to try there or at home.
If you smoke, the teeth whitening procedures you have will be almost pointless. The treatment can still help to whiten your teeth but if you continue to smoke, you will continue to stain your teeth. The tar in the smoke clings to tooth enamel much like it does to walls and ceilings in your home, and this is what causes the staining.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease as it is also known, affects the bones in your jaw and also the teeth around it. An infection starts with forming plaque on the teeth. This causes tartar or calculus which then affects and irritates the gum surrounding them. As more of the gum becomes affected and the disease continues to spread, they are longer able to hold your teeth in place and neither is the bone which is also affected by the infection. The teeth eventually fall out or need to be removed by a dentist.
The first sign of gum disease is normally blood after brushing but with smokers, the blood supply to the gums is heavily reduced. This means the gums can't bleed and therefore those first symptoms are often not obvious.
It has been suggested by the Better Health Channel that smoking up to ten cigarettes per day can make you twice as likely as non-smokers to get gum disease. The more you smoke, the greater the chances and the more severe the disease is likely to be.
You'll probably know halitosis more as bad breath and this is just another common complaint of smokers at the dental clinic. When you smoke the particles are left in the airways, mouth and lungs. The smell can linger there for hours which kick-starts the bad breath process.
Not just that but smoking leaves you with a dry palate or dry mouth which causes bad breath especially overnight. When you don't have a drink with your cigarette and get that dry mouth sensation, it tastes bad to you but it also smells bad to other people. This is because of the bacteria that thrive there.
There are a number of problems that can occur as a result of smoking and this is definitely the case for your oral health. If you find yourself in need of constant dental treatment and you're a smoker, it might be the time to finally quit for good. If you seem to be spending more money at your dental clinic than anywhere else, you might be throwing good money after bad by not kicking the habit.