According to the latest reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 34 million adults in the United States are smokers. That’s about 14 percent of the nation’s population. It’s no secret that smoking can cause numerous health issues, such as heart disease, emphysema, COPD, and lung cancer. It also increases the risk of developing many other conditions, like immune system disorders, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and tuberculosis. Quite a few people fail to realize, though, that smoking can also lead to several dental problems.
1) Smoking Causes Tooth Discoloration
Tar, nicotine, and other substances found in cigarettes are known to cause tooth discoloration. Those compounds work their way into tiny cracks and pores in the surface of the teeth, and they can’t be brushed away. Though the Best Dentist Near Me can perform tooth whitening to reduce those stains, they’ll only keep coming back if you continue to smoke. Of course, this is only a cosmetic issue. Many more serious dental problems can come from smoking as well.
2) Smoking Increases Your Risk of Gum Disease Studies show that almost half of American adults suffer from gum disease. For those ages 65 and older, that number jumps to more than 70 percent. Smoking contributes to the development and progression of gum disease in a few ways. It may hamper the development of healthy gum cells. It’s also believed to negatively affect the structure of the jawbones, causing them to weaken. When this happens, they can’t support the teeth properly.
3) Smoking Contributes to Tooth Decay Some reports indicate that smoking doesn’t actually cause dry mouth but can make matters worse if you already suffer from this condition. Many smokers insist that smoking does, in fact, cause your mouth to dry out and makes you more thirsty than normal. Either way, dry mouth comes from reduced saliva production and can cause excessive bacteria growth in the mouth. In turn, those bacteria eat away at the teeth and contribute to tooth decay.
4) Tooth Loss
Both tooth decay and gum disease can lead to tooth loss. In the case of tooth decay, smokers are more likely to need tooth extractions because their teeth are too damaged to save. When it comes to gum disease, receding gums and weakened jawbones cause
the teeth to loosen and eventually fall out. Though lost teeth can be replaced with dental implants if the jawbones are strong enough to support them, smoking tends to weaken them to the point where they can’t handle the weight and bulk of implants. In situations like these, dentures or partials may be the only option for replacing missing teeth.
Keeping Your Teeth Healthy
There’s no denying that cigarettes are addictive. Nicotine alone is habit-forming, and other chemicals are added to cigarettes to further keep people hooked on them. Because of all that, quitting smoking isn’t easy. It takes time, determination, and in many cases, outside intervention. That being said, smoking is extremely detrimental to oral health. It stains the teeth, promotes tooth decay, contributes to gum disease, and can ultimately cause people to lose their teeth.
Smoking also hampers healing, so you’re unable to recover from gum disease, dental procedures, and other issues as quickly as you should. All this is proof that smoking is hazardous for your teeth and detracts from your oral health. In the long run, keeping your teeth and maintaining your well-being may depend on putting down the cigarettes once and for all.