There are hundreds of reasons to stop smoking. However, there are 32 reasons, in particular, to stop if you care about the appearance and health of your smile. Of course, we’re talking about your teeth. Unfortunately, smoking effects can be brutal for your teeth and oral health. While getting stained teeth from smoking may seem like a minor cosmetic inconvenience, the truth is that smoking stains on your teeth are just the tip of the iceberg. Take a look at six ways smoking affects your teeth.
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#1: Smoking Teeth Damage Creates Excess Plaque and Tartar
Yes, smoking does contribute to a dirtier mouth because the chemicals in tobacco products alter the natural saliva flow. These salivary changes can make it much easier for bacteria to stick around to form plaque all over the teeth and gums.
#2: Smoking Teeth Damage Includes Gum Disease
Smokers have twice the risk for gum disease compared with nonsmokers. What’s more, treatments don’t work as effectively on smokers. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can eventually degrade the bone structure that supports your teeth. Many people with unmanaged gum disease lose teeth. You might have gum disease if you experience the following:
- Red or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Gums that are pulling away from the teeth
Anyone can develop gum disease simply by allowing plaque and bacteria to get under the gums. However, smokers are at increased risk for gum disease because smoking weakens the body’s immune system. A weakened immune system makes it more difficult for the body to fight off a gum infection. As a result, gum disease can progress more quickly. There’s also the fact mentioned above that smoking alters saliva flow to increase your likelihood of developing plaque buildup in the first place.
#3: Bad Teeth from Smoking Also Mean Bad Breath
Smoker’s breath is a real thing. It’s caused by the scent of cigarette smoke pooling in your throat and lungs in a way that can make other people feel like they are “talking to a chimney.” In addition, the chemicals in tobacco products can interact with your saliva to create an offensive odor in your mouth.
#4: Smoking Teeth Damage Can Mean Tooth Death
Smokers are at a higher risk of losing their teeth due to the smoke’s adverse effects on blood circulation. Reduced circulation is especially dangerous for oral health because a lack of blood supply to the teeth and gums can essentially starve your teeth of the nutrients they need to stay healthy and strong. As a result, long-term smoking often leads to tooth loss.
#5: Wisdom Teeth Removal Risks from Smoking Are Serious
Smokers are at a disadvantage when healing after tooth extractions, dental implants, cosmetic enhancements, or treatments for gum disease. The fact that smoking suppresses the immune system while also interfering with blood circulation can create a perfect storm for poor healing. There’s an especially high wisdom teeth removal risk for smokers. Smoking is known to create infection risks and increase recovery time following wisdom tooth removal. In addition, smoking during wisdom tooth extraction recovery can create a suction that “pulls on the wound” to open sutures.
#6: Teeth Smoking Stains Are Brutal
Teeth are porous, which creates an opportunity for nicotine and tar to enter the tiny, permeable pores in teeth. Nicotine’s chemical reaction when it interacts with oxygen is responsible for that “smoker yellow” tooth color commonly seen in people who smoke. In addition, the hardened tartar and plaque that build up more quickly on smokers’ teeth also create yellow and brown coloring on the surface of the teeth.
While teeth whitening treatments can help undo discoloration, they should not be considered replacements for quitting. Teeth damage from smoking goes much deeper into the surface than the color of teeth.
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It’s Not Too Late to Prevent Bad Teeth from Smoking
Contact Loudoun Orthodontics if you are ready to learn more about vaping and its effect on your overall oral health. Whether you want to learn more about the side effects of using e-cigarettes or have any questions about the process of achieving excellent oral health, use our live chat or call (703) 858-0303 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today to book a free consultation! Our office, located at 19465 Deerfield Ave, Suite 304, Leesburg, VA 20176, proudly serves not just Loudoun County but also the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Purcellville, Broadlands, or Brambleton, and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in VA, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health as well as follow us on social media to become a part of our smiling community!