Smoking cigarettes often have temporary benefits for many smokers, known as a way to reduce stress and also maintain the addiction. For some, it is also a way to appear cool or edgy, especially for younger smokers. While it might make you feel cool for a few moments, there are several ways that smoking cigarettes affects oral hygiene long-term.
One of the most common signs that oral hygiene is affected by smoking is bad breath, as the bad breath is even present when the individual is not smoking. The nicotine and tar that can be found in cigarettes quickly builds up inside of the mouth and covers the gums, teeth and tongue entirely.
Smoking also dries out the mouth and limits the amount of saliva that is produced, which normally works to clean out the mouth daily. Although chewing gum can mask the smell, it will not eliminate it completely.
Another common effect of smoking cigarettes is yellowing of the teeth and discoloration that is caused by the 4,700 different chemicals inhaled each time a cigarette is puffed. Cavities and tooth loss are another issue related to smoking due to the excessive plaque build-up that occurs, which is more difficult to remove and clean for those who smoke. Dental tartar then begins to occur, as well as tooth decay.
For those with a long-term habit of smoking cigarettes, periodontal (gum) disease is likely to occur because the immune system is weakened over time due to the tobacco. This makes it difficult to fight off bacteria, often leading to swollen or bleeding gums. The gums are known to separate from the bone due to the damage that occurs over the years, making them more prone to bacteria and infections. The gums also separate and recede over time, exposing a large amount of the tooth. The oral tissues are also damaged because the temperature inside of the mouth naturally increases with tobacco use.
Although the enamel on teeth works to protect each tooth long-term, the tobacco easily breaks it down due to its rough texture that scrapes and rubs the enamel off. Enamel that becomes worn ultimately prevents the teeth from staying preserved or protected, increasing the chances of tooth decay and tooth loss. Unfortunately, tooth enamel does not grow back over time.
Dental professionals suggest that the only way to truly prevent the negative oral hygiene effects of smoking cigarettes is to completely eliminate smoking altogether.
Contact Your Dentist Today If Your Teeth Feel the Effects of Smoking!