You take good care of your teeth. You brush and floss daily, you use mouthwash, and you visit the dentist regularly. However, if you are a smoker, your smile and overall oral health are at risk. Smoking is one of the most harmful habits for your oral health, and even the most experienced preventative care cannot fully reverse the effects of tobacco use. Smoking can lead to discoloration, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Dr. Lisbeth Bradley is committed to your long-term oral health. If you are a smoker, the team at our practice will work to protect your smile with general dentistry services. Nevertheless, for optimal oral health, you should quit smoking entirely. To learn more about how smoking affects oral health, contact our Nashville practice today.
Tobacco and Your Periodontal Health
Smoking dramatically increases your risk for gum disease and tooth loss. Gum disease, or periodontitis, develops when bacterial pockets form in your soft tissues. Bacteria will multiply, and the pockets will get larger, eventually leading to gum recession, loose teeth, and tooth loss. In severe cases, the bacteria could even spread to your jawbone, and you could develop a life-threatening infection. Smoking compromises your immune system and reduces oxygen flow. Therefore, your body will not be able to fight off bacteria as effectively, and microbes are more likely to accumulate in your mouth.
Smoking and Dental Decay
Along with gum disease, bacteria will cause cavities. Over time, the microbes will form a sticky film called plaque, which will eventually harden into tartar. Only a professional cleaning can eliminate these substances. As long as they remain your mouth, bacteria will be in direct contact with your teeth, interacting with sugars to erode your enamel. Again, smoking affects your ability to combat bacteria, so the habit will increase your risk for cavities.
The Connection between Smoking and Oral Cancer
Tobacco and cigarettes contain many unnatural chemicals that can cause genetic changes in your cells. If you are a habitual smoker, your oral tissues are in near-constant contact with these chemicals. As a result, you face a much higher risk for oral cancer. This disease is serious, and, in many cases it can be fatal. As a smoker, it is vital that you visit the dentist regularly for cancer screenings. Early diagnosis is the most effective way to beat oral cancer.
Smoking Impacts the Esthetics of Your Smile
Tobacco products can also alter your appearance. Cigarettes contain dark-colored tar, as well as nicotine, which will become yellow when exposed to oxygen. As the smoke comes into contact with your teeth, dark-colored molecules from the nicotine and tar will adhere to your teeth, giving your smile a brownish or yellowish tint. Teeth whitening can reduce some tobacco stains. However, with continued smoking, discoloration will reappear quickly.
Contact Us for the Help You Need
If you are a smoker, it is important to visit the dentist regularly. Dr. Bradley will check for signs of gum disease and oral cancer. Contact Dr. Bradley’s office today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about smoking and your dental health.