We all know that smoking is bad for your health. Not only can it cause lung cancer and other serious diseases, it can also be detrimental to oral health. In addition to causing stains on your teeth, smoking can lead to gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Dr. Stephen Coates shares the details of how smoking can affect your oral health…

3 Severe Ways Smoking Harms Your Oral Health

Smoking damages your teeth and mouth by causing bleeding gums, bad breath, and stained teeth. The nicotine and tar in tobacco yellows the teeth so that eventually, any teeth remaining after tooth loss will turn brown. You can opt for professional teeth whitening to remove much of the staining, but it will return if you continue to smoke.

Smoking can also cause more severe issues, like:

1. Gum Disease and Tooth Loss

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection and inflammation of the gums that can cause deterioration in your bone structure. Smoking encourages the production of bacterial plaque, which eventually leads to gum disease. The smoke introduces toxins into the mouth and causes a lack of oxygen in the blood, inhibiting the healing of the gums. Smokers are more likely to have dental plaque that causes gum disease, which causes tooth loss as your gums pull away from your teeth.

2. Mouth Cancer

Most people think about lung and throat cancer when it comes to smoking, but it’s also one of the primary causes of mouth cancer. Also known as oral cancer, it affects all areas of the mouth, the lips, tongue, cheek, and throat. Signs of oral cancer include problems chewing or swallowing, numbness, and the feeling of something caught in your throat. One benefit of seeing your dentist regularly is that your dentist can often detect oral cancer in its initial stages.

3. Keratosis

White patches can appear on the roof of a smoker’s mouth, called keratosis, caused by mucous glands.

The CDC’s Statistics on Smoking and Oral Health

Signs for Concern and Prevention

You may have gum disease if you have red, swollen, or tender gums, experience painful chewing, or have loose and sensitive teeth. Avoid gum disease and tooth loss by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, visiting your dentist regularly, and giving up smoking.

Treating Gum Disease

If you’ve just begun to show signs of gum disease, then regular dental cleanings, daily brushing, and flossing can help. If it has progressed, you may need deep cleaning below your gum line, a prescription mouth rinse, surgery to eliminate the tartar under the gums, or surgery to repair bone or gum loss.

Check Up on Your Oral Health

It is vital that you visit your dental professional regularly for check-ups, exams, and cleanings. Your dentist can check for any damage caused by smoking. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Stephen Coates, DDS, today!