It is no surprise that smoking causes damage to your lungs and heart, but did you know that it can greatly affect your oral health as well? Here are just a few of the ways that smoking cigarettes can cause harm to your teeth, tongue, and gums.
Smoking increases your risk of tooth decay.
More specifically, smoking cigarettes has been known to increase the amount of plaque and tartar that flourishes on your dental enamel. This can be quite damaging to your oral health. When you eat, the bacteria in plaque feeds on the sugar in your food and, in turn, releases acids onto your teeth. These acids can gradually eat away at your dental enamel and lead to tooth decay and cavities. Therefore, when smoking increases the amount of plaque and bacteria on the surface of your teeth, it increases the likelihood of dental decay.
Smoking causes halitosis (or bad breath).
It may come as no surprise to you that smoking causes bad breath, but the actual root of the problem can be quite unexpected! Halitosis may begin as a result of smoke that lingers in the throat and lungs, but the problem persists due to your saliva production. When you smoke cigarettes, it inhibits your ability to produce saliva. Your saliva plays an important role in washing away odor-causing bacteria and the dead cells that reside on your tongue, teeth, and gums. Therefore, when you smoke, these particles stay in your mouth and cause bad breath.
Over time, smokers lose their sense of taste.
Studies have shown that smoking tobacco products can irreparably damage your taste buds. When you smoke, your taste receptors gradually flatten. This makes them less effective at detecting taste stimuli, particularly those of bitter foods. So each time you smoke, you may be diminishing your ability to enjoy your next cup of coffee.
Tobacco products can lead to tooth discoloration.
Cigarettes are particularly harmful to the color of your pearly whites. The nicotine in cigarettes is initially a colorless substance, but once it comes into contact with oxygen it turns a yellowish color. Tar is another substance found in cigarettes, and this can leave a blackish brown residue that gets trapped in the ridges of your dental enamel. Ultimately, these chemicals in cigarette smoke get trapped on your teeth and can leave tough stains that can hold for years.
Smoking leads to diseases of the mouth, such as periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is a common result of smoking cigarettes. In fact, studies have shown that the amount you smoke is directly correlated with your likelihood of getting gum disease. Unfortunately, smoking also makes it more difficult to treat gum disease, as it weakens your immune system. Luckily, though, quitting tobacco products also immediately helps to improve your gum health.
Would you like to improve your health and combat the damage done by cigarettes? We can help! Call Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics today to schedule your next appointment.