The "Tooth" About Smoking


(Photo credits to the owner/owners)

    With all the warning signs , anti-smoking campaigns and advertisements around us, not to mention the very graphic photos printed on the cigarette packs, we all agree that smoking is bad for one's health.  Smoking doesn't only involve cigarettes or cigars.  Tobacco-chewing is also included. Your mouth becomes a rich depository of nicotine and nicotine has a component that makes smoking so addicting.  

    It has been said that smoking can lead to problems as simple as skin diseases but it may also lead to heart and lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the dreaded cancer.  If you're a smoker or you know of someone who smokes, have you ever wondered what kind of damage smoking does to your teeth? Because even before that single puff reaches your lungs, it passes through your lips, your teeth and your tongue.  You may even swirl that smoke inside your mouth before you inhale and puff it out. Tooth discoloration may be the only visible sign you see or bad breath may be another effect you know of but it doesn't really just stop there.   The following are the possible effects or risks a smoker may have on his/her oral health:

    (1)    Tooth Discoloration which makes cosmetic or esthetic restorations difficult to achieve

    (2)    Teeth and Tongue Staining

    (3)    Slow healing of post-extraction/post-surgical wounds inside the mouth

    (4)    Periodontal (Gum) Diseases such as gum recession which eventually exposes the root and causes tooth sensitivity

    (5)    Low success rate of dental implant procedures

    (6)    Higher risk of developing oral cancer

    (7)    Change in one's sense of smell and taste

    (8)    Halitosis or bad breath

    These are just some of the oral health risks a smoker may encounter but there are far greater risks that involve other body organs as mentioned above. So if you are just starting to smoke or have smoked for a long time, the only way to avoid these risks and live a better and healthier life is to quit smoking. It may be easier said than done but you can always keep trying and trying and trying. There are a lot of ways out there that can curb that desire to smoke. There are support groups you can join. The best way to take that first step to quitting is right after you have your oral prophylaxis when you feel orally fresh and clean. Go ahead and take that first step. Visit your dentist and discuss it with him/her.