Most people are now aware that smoking is bad for their health. It can cause many different medical problems and, in some cases, fatal diseases. So it should be no surprise that cigarettes and chewing tobacco are also harmful to your oral health. For one, tobacco products can cause bad breath, but that’s only the beginning.
Stained teeth and tongue. The nicotine and tar in tobacco can yellow teeth in a short amount of time, and can turn teeth brown after years of smoking.
Dulled sense of taste and smell. Ex-smokers begin to regain their sense of taste as quickly as two days after they have kicked the habit
Slow healing after a tooth extraction or other surgery. Because there is less oxygen in the smoker’s bloodstream. Also, smoking can increase the level of pain experienced at the site of extraction.
Difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental problems. Slower healing, increased acidity, and other side effects of smoking can increase the failure rate of implants.
Gum disease. Smoking weakens your immune system, this makes it harder to fight off a gum infection.
Oral cancer. Smoking may lead to cancer in the mouth or throat. Oral tobacco products are associated with cancer in the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips
Quitting is the only way to decrease your risk of these and other tobacco-related health problems. The addictive quality of nicotine in cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco, can make this especially difficult. That’s why it’s important to have a plan and a support network, people to help you stick to your plan. Write down your reasons for quitting. Exercising, chewing gum and keeping yourself occupied can help you quit. Talk to your dentist or doctor to see if the medications available would help you to stop using tobacco.
Brian Y. Kuo DDS FAGD
🚭 For some more tips on quitting tobacco, check out smokefree.gov!