Smoking. We all know it’s bad for your overall health and your lungs, but what about your teeth? Did you know that smoking can cause a host of issues in your mouth that aren’t just limited to staining or bad breath?
Some of the effects of smoking include:
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Oral cancers
- Delayed healing after extractions and deep cleans
It may not happen overnight, but it will happen – periodontal disease due to smoking, can lead to “longer” teeth, bad breath and loose “wobbly” teeth. How does this happen? Smoking causes a decrease in blood flow to the gums which in turn reduces the number of defence cells the body can use to fight bacteria under the gums. When we have tartar on our teeth, this attracts bacteria which over time eat away at your bone, making teeth appear longer and over time start to wobble.
Oral cancers are one of the most aggressive cancers, with only a 40% survival rate for 5 years or more after diagnosis of tongue or oral mucosal cancers. Research has found that around 75% of people with oral cancers are also smokers. Interestingly, it was found that non-smokers with oral cancers have a higher survival rate after diagnosis.
Smoking can also affect healing after extractions, causing a dry socket which not only is very painful but also can affect how long it takes for the extraction site to fully heal. Similarly, after a very thorough clean, the gums may take a longer time to heal up.
The effects of smoking are drastic and detrimental to your teeth and gums but it’s not all bad news! Research has found that one month after people who have quit smoking, the body has repaired most of the damage caused by cigarette smoke. At the Gentle Dental Centre, we have witnessed many people who have successfully quit smoking and enjoyed the health (and financial) benefits that follow. Give us a call and we will be more than glad to discuss ways of quitting at your next check-up.