Smoking and Your Dental Health: What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

August 7, 2022

smokers teethWhen it comes to your dental health, smoking is scary. You might not notice the effects at first, but smoking can cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums, and make dental treatments less effective. The dental health risks associated with nicotine and tobacco are numerous and sometimes even deadly. From receding gums and yellowish stains to tooth loss and oral cancer, smoking increases your risk for all types of problems.

How Smoking Affects Your Dental Health

Stained Teeth

Nicotine leaves stains! Every time you smoke or vape, clouds of nicotine are coating your teeth and leave residue behind. First, your teeth will turn yellow. Gradually, they’ll darken to brown. If a bright, shining smile is important to you, don’t use nicotine products.

Tooth Decay

Smoking and vaping dry out your mouth, creating the perfect conditions for plaque to grow. Plaque attacks your teeth with acid that eats away their protective enamel, causing cavities and painful decay. Smokers are much more likely to need fillings, root canals, and crowns to repair their damaged teeth.

Gum Disease

Plaque also attacks your gums, causing inflammation and infections that make them pull away from your teeth. Smokers have three times the risk of developing periodontal (gum) disease than non-smokers, and former smokers have twice the risk. That means that if you quit smoking, your risk drops dramatically.

Tooth Loss

The leading cause of tooth loss is gum disease. Receding gums expose the vulnerable roots of your teeth to decay. Infections in your gums can also spread to the bones that support your teeth. Bone loss and weak gums lead to loose teeth, and eventually to tooth loss.

Oral Cancer

If you smoke, your risk for oral cancer increases significantly. Cigarettes contain many known carcinogens and toxins, and when you smoke, you’re subjecting your mouth to direct exposure. Oral cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, and two out of three people with oral cancer are also smokers.

Other Diseases

The same bacteria that infect your gums can also infect other parts of your body when they get into your bloodstream. Studies have linked gum disease with many other conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and more.

Dental Health Care in Westminster

Have your teeth and gums been damaged by smoking? My Dentist in Westminster can provide whitening treatments, dental restorations, periodontal care, and dental implants as well. And, if you still smoke, we can provide you with resources to help you quit. The sooner you quit smoking, the better! You’ll have a lower risk of gum disease, tooth loss, oral cancer, and other smoking-related health problems. Call us today to make an appointment, or schedule a visit online.