How Does Tobacco Use Affect Your Teeth?
It's no secret that smoking takes a major toll on your health. If you're a lifelong smoker, you might not even think twice about the state of your oral health each time you light up a cigarette. But the fact of the matter is, your mouth takes a beating with each inhalation of cigarette smoke. Now, this is not to say that you cannot prevent or reverse the damage that smoking causes. But the best place to start is by quitting -- which is far easier said than done for many smokers. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Regular dental checkups in Calgary can help you stay on top of your oral health, but here's what to know about how tobacco impacts those pearly whites.
Smoking Causes Tooth Discoloration
If you once had pearly whites, you can expect your teeth to discolor over time, turning a shade of yellow, and eventually developing stained patches of brown. This can happen even if you only smoke a few cigarettes a day or only smoke on a social/casual basis. But the truth is -- the more you smoke, the quicker your teeth will discolor.
Tooth Decay Comes Next
The effects of tobacco on your teeth take a toll from day one. There really is no way to escape the damage that tobacco inflicts. After your teeth begin to discolor, they can begin to develop cavities due to a gradual decaying process. While most people associate tobacco use with gum disease or oral cancer, not many smokers realize that tobacco smoke degrades your teeth, as well. In short, you can develop large cavities around the gumline. When these become infected, it weakens your teeth, which leads to loose teeth, broken teeth, and even tooth loss.
You Could Develop Gum Disease and Bone Damage
Also known as periodontal disease, this is a condition that infects your gum line when large amounts of bacteria enter the mouth, in this case, via smoking tobacco. This infection of the mouth spreads to your gums. Some of the most common signs include bleeding, sensitive gums, bad breath, and swollen and puffy gums. After some time, your gums may begin to recede, which exposes more of the tooth and weakens its position in your mouth. If left unchecked for an extended period of time, gum disease can actually cause major damage to the bones in your mouth. Basically, the infection spreads from your gums down into deeper tissues, and eventually the bone. But with regular dental checkups, you can avoid the long-term damage of periodontal disease.
Smoking Is a Huge Risk Factor for Oral Cancer
It comes as no surprise that smoking is one of the primary causes of oral cancer and many other types of cancer for that matter. Oral cancer can impact many areas of the mouth, including the tongue, cheeks, roof or floor of the mouth, and even the lips. If you smoke and drink alcohol on a regular basis, you're at an even greater risk of developing oral cancer. But it's worth noting that if you quit smoking you have the same risk of developing cancer as a non-smoker, so the bottom line is that it's never too late to stop smoking!
Looking for Dental Checkups in Calgary?
If you're a regular smoker, it's even more important to have regular dental checkups if you don't plan on quitting in the near future. But as you might have guessed, one of the best things you do for your oral health is to stop smoking. Bite Dental is here for all your dental checkups in Calgary. Learn more about what our dental checkup entails, here.