Smoking And Your Mouth
YOU’RE PROBABLY FAMILIAR with some of the ways smoking impacts your health, particularly lung cancer. You need to know: that’s not where the damage ends. Smoking can harm every part of the body, including our mouth. Unfortunately, the problems don’t end with stained teeth and bad breath. Smoking even effects orthodontic treatment!
Gum disease begins as an inflammation of the gums, which, if left untreated, can lead to serious damage to the gum tissue, tooth loss, and even bone loss in the jaw. It can also give bacteria access to the bloodstream, risking life-threatening infections. Smoking doubles the risk of developing gum disease by introducing hundreds of toxins into the mouth, and it also makes gum disease harder to treat.
One particularly strange effect smoking can have on oral health is that it can produce white patches on the roof of the mouth. These are stomatitis nicotina, or smoker’s keratosis. The condition is not well understood, but the white patches could be the result of inflammation of the mucous glands in the mouth. It usually isn’t painful, but it can be pre-cancerous.
4 out of 5 people diagnosed with oral cancer smoke or chew tobacco. Oral cancer is cancer that affects any of the tissues in the mouth and throat. Early symptoms include unusual white patches, persistent sores or pain, difficulty chewing or swallowing, swelling, numbness, and the sensation of having something lodged in the throat. The dentist is the first line of defense against oral cancer, as many of these symptoms can be caught early during a regular dental exam.
Smoking And Braces Do Not Mix
As bad as smoking is for oral health in general, it’s even worse for orthodontic patients. We’re talking about braces, Invisalign and retainers! When oral tissues are unhealthy, the teeth can’t move into their proper positions as easily, which means that a smoking habit can make orthodontic treatment take much longer. It will also stain invisible aligners, and for bracket braces patients, it can stain teeth around the brackets, leaving unsightly white patches when the braces come off. Smoking will quickly discolor clear brackets and ligature ties. YUCK!
It’s Never Too Late To Quit
Luckily, smoking is a very preventable cause of all these different dental problems. All we have to do is quit smoking or never pick up the habit in the first place. Even those with a long history of smoking can significantly improve their chances of avoiding health complications by quitting, so don’t think there’s nothing you can gain from it!
We Want To Help You!
There are many resources available for smokers who need help quitting. Some of the best ones are supportive friends, family, counselors and even orthodontists! You can also find a lot of great information on the CDC’s website. We, as part of your dental health team, care deeply about your overall health. If you are a smoker, be sure to schedule regular dental exams, more than two a year if you have braces, so that your mouth can stay healthy and your teeth can last a lifetime!
We can’t wait to see your healthy, sparkling smile!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.<< Back to News