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Many studies have proven the ill-effects of smoking on your overall health. Smoking increases the chances of having a heart attack or stroke and is also a leading cause of lung and oral cancer. Smoking during pregnancy can cause premature babies and birth defects.
But did you know that smoking has ill-effects on your teeth, gums, jawbone and mouth tissues. Clinical Studies suggest that smokers have a higher than average risk of periodontal disease and poor oral health status.
Smokers are bound to have dental problems and the more one smokes, the worse they will get. It's highly unfortunate that smokers are very careless with their oral health. But even if one practices excellent hygiene, the chances of preventing the oral problems associated with smoking won't improve greatly.
Tobacco products contain gritty materials which are like sandpaper against healthy teeth and they cause immense damage to the enamel which does'nt grow back.
The nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive and it is very difficult for smokers to stay away from their cigarette packs. It'll not be very hard if you're determined.
How Smoking Affects Oral Health:
1.Tooth Stains -
Smoking causes tooth stains and overall discoloration. Teeth whitening, regular scaling and polishing and veneers can remove or reduce the stains.
2. Bad Breath
Smoking is one of the main causes for bad breath. Not only does smoking cause "dry mouth" but tar and nicotine settles in the oral cavity leading to a condition known as "smoker's breath". Smoking can also deteriorate the sense of taste and smell.
3. Tooth Decay
Smoking increases the amount of dental plaque in the mouth. The more the dental plaque, the harder it is to remove. This eventually leads to dental tartar and tooth decay.
4. Gum Diseases
Smoking and tobacco interfere with the normal function of gum tissue cells and this makes smokers more susceptible to conditions like periodontitis which is a common gum disease. Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection which damages the soft tissues and bone that anchor teeth to jaw bones.
In early stages of the disease, people might experience bleeding from gums while brushing and flossing. As the infection worsens, the gums begin to break down and form pockets. If not treated on time, these pockets further deepen and make teeth loose and painful.
Smokers are more likely to get advanced periodontal disease than non smokers. Smoking also impairs blood flow to the gums which further interferes with the healing of the wound.
5. Tooth Loss
Advanced periodontal disease eventually leads to bone deterioration and tooth loss.
6. Failure Of Dental Implants
Dental Implants are an ideal solution for missing teeth. The failure rate for implants in a smoker is more than double as compared to a non-smoker. Poor vascularity in the mouth causes a host of other diseases because of which the person is a poor prognosis case for all gum surgeries, bone grafting or even implants.
7. Oral Cancer
Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, etc. are the biggest risk factors for the cancer of the oral cavity. 90% of oral cancer patients are smokers. Quitting will help in reducing the risk of cancer from tobacco.
Signs and Symptoms: The Indian Cancer Society states that oral cancer commonly starts as one of the following-
1. An ulcer or wound in the mouth or on the tongue that does not go away.
2. A swelling over the cheek and gum (which may be painful or painless).
3. Difficulty opening the mouth completely and swelling in the neck.
4. Persistent sore throat.
5. Difficulty in swallowing or moving the tongue.
6. Sudden loosening of teeth or pain in the jaw.
So on this World No Tobacco Day, TAKE A PLEDGE AND QUIT SMOKING. It not only affects you but your entire family.
It's important to have good oral hygiene and you should start by seeing your Dentist to evaluate your dental health and get an oral cancer screening!
This article is written by Dr. Divya Verma. She is a dental graduate with Masters in Healthcare Management from Manchester Business School, UK, and currently working with Clove Dental.