We are all aware of the harmful effects that smoking has on one’s general health, particularly the heart and lungs. But when it comes to your oral health, smoking does far more than just cause bad breath and yellow teeth. There are several oral health problems that are triggered by smoking or using smokeless tobacco.
The most serious oral side effect from smoking is an increased risk of oral cancer. Today, nearly 100 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer in the United States. For the fifth straight year in a row, the oral cancer rate is increasing. The good news is, that if detected at early stages, oral cancer has up to a 90% survival rate. Many dentists, such as Park South Dentistry, offer oral cancer screenings as part of your routine oral checkup. It is a painless and non-invasive screening that can be done in just minutes.
If you are a smoker, you are also susceptible to a significant increase in the amount of harmful plaque and tartar build-up in your mouth, which quickly leads to periodontal problems. Gum disease is an infection of the tissues and bone that support your teeth and can trigger subsequent oral health problems as well. Furthermore, smokers often have a difficult time healing after dental procedures, making procedures such as dental implants have a lower success rate.
You may dismiss the bad breath and stained teeth from smoking as something you can reverse with a breath mint and some teeth whitening strips. However, you should know that discoloration caused by smoking is extremely difficult to treat or reverse, even with professional teeth whitening. More costly procedures such as crowns or veneers may be your only option to truly fix your stained teeth caused by nicotine.
By quitting your smoking habit, you will not only gain tremendous benefit to your overall health, but your healthy decision will be noticeable in your smile too!