Whether you are a smoker or non-smoker, everyone knows the dangers of smoking. Cigarette manufacturers make a point of warning us about the consequences of tobacco products by adding warning labels to their packaging. Labels such as “smoking may harm your baby”, “smoking kills” and “smoking causes lung cancer and emphysema” are among the most popular warning labels. However, a warning label that is yet to be seen is “smoking causes gum disease, oral cancer and tooth loss”, because this is what happens to your mouth, as this is the first place the smoke reaches when you inhale.
Tobacco products obstruct the normal function of gum tissue cells, causing periodontal disease. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, smokers (albeit cigar, cigarette or pipe smokers) may all experience tooth loss, as well as loss of bone within the jawbone that anchors the teeth.
Aside from periodontal disease, smoking causes various other dental problems. These problems include:
- Tooth discoloration
- Inflammation of the salivary gland openings on the roof of the mouth
- Bad breath
- Increased build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth
- Increased risk of leucoplakia (white patches inside of the mouth)
- Delayed healing process following tooth extraction, periodontal treatment, or oral surgery
- Lower success rate of dental implant procedures
- Increased risk of developing oral cancer
Smoking is quite addictive and probably one of the hardest legal substances to quit. However, the best solution to quitting is by visiting your dentist. A dentist can show you the negative effects that smoking has on your mouth and teeth. He or she can also give you advice on which medicine, gum or nicotine patches to use in order to effectively end your smoking habit. Contact us for a dentist in Cape Town.
WebMD “Smoking and oral health”
Colgate “Smoking: A Danger To Healthy Gums”
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention “Smoking, Gum Disease, and Tooth Loss”