Is smoking bad for your teeth?
The short answer is – YES!
It is well established that smoking is bad for your health. It can cause may medical conditions, which in some cases is fatal.
However, many people don’t realise the damage that smoking does to their mouth, gums and teeth. Healthy teeth need healthy gums. Smoking reduces the blood flow to the gums, which both causes and hides the signs of gum disease. Gum disease is both the inflammation of gums, and the loss of bone and tissue which surround and support your teeth. With no support, teeth loosen, become wobbly and cause pain. These teeth may have to be extracted.
Gum disease the major cause of adults losing their teeth. If you smoke, you are about three times more likely to have gum disease than a non-smoker. Smokers can also have more tooth decay than non-smokers. The nicotine in tobacco reduces saliva flow and some smokers can get dry mouth symptoms.
Smoking causes stained teeth and tongue, gum discolouration (also called smoker’s melanosis), changes in the look of the roof of the mouth (palate), bad breath and a loss of taste and smell. Smoking can also cause or worsen gum disease (also called periodontal disease) and increase your risk of mouth and lip cancer.
If I stop smoking will my teeth improve?
After you stop smoking your mouth can start repairing itself. After two weeks blood circulation, especially to the gums and teeth, can return to normal levels. Now that the mouth isn’t being bombarded with smoke, tissue damaged by gum disease can recover. You will find your food smells and tastes better. Your breath will improve and you may notice the stains on your teeth reduce. You can check out more information about quitting at the Quitnow website.
If you are a smoker it is important to be honest with your dentist. They are able to give you information about the specific effects your smoking has had on your oral health. Make an appointment on line today to discuss your oral health. Or phone our reception staff during business hours.
Take the first step towards quitting smoking and give your mouth a breath of fresh air!