If you are a smoker, but know that it is bad for your health, you may think about switching to a different type of tobacco. Unfortunately, when it comes to both your oral and overall health, there is no such thing as a safe tobacco. If you want your teeth and gums to remain healthy – not to mention the rest of your bodily systems – you need to give up tobacco for good.
How Tobacco Affects Your Oral Health
Tobacco and smoking can lead to a variety of problems in your mouth, including stains, tooth loss, gum disease, and in the most severe cases, mouth cancer. Stains are one of the first signs to occur, as the tar and nicotine in tobacco leave behind yellow or brown stains. That yellow color can occur quite quickly, while heavy smokers tend to complain about brown teeth after many years of smoking.
Gum disease is also a major risk if you smoke. Smokers produce more bacterial plaque, which causes periodontal disease. A lack of blood to the gums due to smoking will mask the earliest symptoms, but this effect also prevents infected gums from healing as they should. Gum disease is the most common reason for tooth loss in adults and smoking greatly increases that risk.
How Smoking is Linked to Cancer
When you think of diseases caused by smoking, lung cancer is probably at the forefront of your mind. You may not realize that smoking can cause mouth cancer. Unfortunately, oral cancers are hard to diagnose right away, as they usually don't present symptoms until the later stages. By then, it is more aggressive and difficult to treat.
Whether you smoke, are a former smoker, or have never smoked, regular dental checkups are still vital to your oral health. Call us today to set up your next screening and cleaning.