Modern cosmetic dentistry offers an astonishing number of ways to transform your smile, ranging from simple and affordable options to more involved, full mouth reconstruction. Just about any aspect of...
As a tobacco user, you face constant reminders that your habit is unhealthy. But a more specific discussion of what smoking is doing to your body is far more motivating than vague threats.
You may be an expert on tobacco’s effects on the lungs and whole body health. But have you heard about what it can do to your teeth?
The dental ramifications of tobacco use are widespread and alarming. From smaller concerns like smokers being unable to taste the bitterness of coffee (leading to consumption of overly acidic beverages, and enamel loss), to more serious side effects like oral cancer, tobacco is a very bad guy. Stop it from darkening, weakening, and damaging your smile by quitting the habit.
Connection Between Tobacco And Poor Oral Health
When using any form of tobacco, the first part of your body it touches is the mouth. While this may not be immediately apparent with habits like smoking regular or electronic cigarettes, it’s still incredibly damaging. Although the smoke spends only a brief time in the mouth, it harms your teeth and gums. Chewing tobacco is, understandably, far worse.
Dental problems stemming from tobacco include:
- Persistent bad breath
- Yellowed teeth
- Dry mouth, which can lead to cavities and gum disease
- Plaque build-up
- Loss of bone density
- Heightened risk of gum disease – We’ll take a moment to elaborate because gum disease is a serious problem for tobacco users. Smoking weakens the supporting structures (bone and gums) that hold teeth in place. This allows pockets of bacteria to form at the gum line, which intensifies the loss of stability. Additionally, research suggests that tobacco may interfere with gum tissue cells, restricting blood flow and preventing the area from fighting off disease.
- Lengthy healing periods after oral procedures or surgery
- Less successful dental implants
- Risk of oral cancer
- Smokeless tobacco (snuff, chewing tobacco) isn’t exempt. These products contain chemicals that increase the risk of cancer and have higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes. There’s often added sugar present, kickstarting cavity formation. Electronic cigarettes are also potentially dangerous – they are not yet approved by the FDA, and have not been fully researched.
Repairing a Smile Damaged by Tobacco Use
If your teeth have changed because of smoking or other tobacco use, you have options ahead. Before getting too worried, get in touch with your dentist. No matter the problems, early detection will make a serious difference. You’ll have the best possible chance of conserving healthy tissue, and stopping the spread of disease.
Depending on your needs, restorative treatment will range from periodontal (fighting gum disease) to reconstructive (placing dental crowns) to cosmetic (whitening teeth or using veneers). We will find the appropriate treatments to manage disease and rebuild your beautiful smile. Dr. Hoffman will talk you through every step of the process to ensure you feel comfortable and prepared.
Our Macomb General Dentist on Quitting Tobacco
Smoking not only ravages your teeth and gums, but has repercussions that spread throughout your entire body. But it doesn’t have to remain a part of your life or a burden on your health.
If you’ve tried to quit and failed, you’re not alone. Most smokers try quitting multiple times before it really sticks. If you’re struggling to make a change, there are limitless resources available on the Internet and in our community. Visit the CDC’s quitting website to get started along a new, smoke-free path, and contact our office to begin shoring up your dental defenses. We can help you through this stressful time, and put a rejuvenated smile in place!