It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that smoking tobacco is bad for your health. Smoking leads to disease and disability, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But it doesn’t just stop there, smoking also affects your teeth and gums, making it one of the biggest risk factors for gum disease.
Here are three ways smoking affects your oral health.
Smoking tobacco can cause your teeth to turn from white to yellow quickly. The nicotine and tar in tobacco absorb into the pores of your teeth, which causes them to develop a yellow or brown discoloration. These stains are difficult to get rid of because they have occurred over years of smoking and have settled deep into the enamel.
Fortunately, these stains caused by tobacco smoke can fade when you quit smoking.
Tooth Decay and Loss
Tobacco smoke can cause serious damage to your mouth. Tobacco irritates the gum tissues, which causes them to recede from your teeth. Once your gum tissue pulls away from your teeth and exposes your teeth roots, it allows for an increased risk of tooth decay, or cavities, which are decayed areas of your teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes.
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the tissues that hold the teeth in place. Our mouths are full of bacteria, both good and bad. Bad bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, can form a sticky, colorless plaque on your teeth. When the plaque is not removed, it can harden and form tartar, which is strongly bonded to the tooth enamel.
Tartar cannot be removed just from a toothbrush. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist can remove tartar from your teeth. Tartar houses bacteria that produce acids that break down tooth enamel, which may lead to cavities and tooth decay. The accumulation of plaque and tartar can cause inflammation of the gums, leading to gum disease.
The longer you continue to smoke, the more damage you’re causing to your overall health and teeth. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t stop the damage or reverse the impact tobacco can have on your mouth.
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