According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking causes approximately four hundred and eighty thousand (480,000) deaths every year. Smoking leads to more fatalities annually in comparison to HIV, alcohol abuse, road accidents, firearm-related crimes, and illegal drug abuse combined. Not only is smoking bad for your overall health, but the effects of smoking can be detrimental to your oral health as well.

Smoking Causes Bad Breath

It is evident that smoking causes bad breath, and it turns out that the chemicals found in the cigarettes are the primary reason. Most of these chemicals will build up in areas that let them grow. These areas include on your tongue, gums, inside of the cheeks, and the teeth. 

Also, as a smoker, you most likely notice that whenever you smoke your mouth becomes dry. That means the saliva that should be flowing and continuously cleaning your mouth is not doing its work. As a result, bacteria begin to grow hence creating an odor.

Another reason why smoking results in bad breath is due to the rise of temperature that takes place in the mouth. Whenever you smoke, your dental tissue cells are damaged and eventually die. As a result, this allows the bacteria to move around with ease since the tissue cells can no longer protect your mouth. This could cause long-term conditions like mouth cancer or gum disease.

What is the Relationship Between Smoking and Gum Disease?

Gum disease is a condition that affects the bone structure that supports the teeth. Smoking is the leading cause of this condition.

Also known as periodontal, gum disease begins with germs or bacteria on your teeth getting under the gums. If the bacteria stay on your teeth for long, a layer of tartar and plaque develops. This build-up causes gingivitis, which is a type of gum disease.

In severe cases, the gums will pull away from the teeth forming spaces that get infected. The tissue and bone that hold the teeth break down hence the need to remove the loose teeth.

How Smoking Contributes to Periodontal

  • Bacteria

Smoking weakens your immune system hence putting you at a double risk of developing gum disease compared to a non-smoker. This is because smokers are more prone to bacteria (Prevotella intermedia Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans) that cause periodontal.

It also means the more cigars you smoke as well as, the longer you smoke, the higher the risk of developing the condition in question.

  • Blood vessels in your Gums

Smokers experience less bleeding and inflammation compared to non-smokers. This is as a result of blood vessels constriction in your facial area.  Human bodies respond to bacteria through inflammation. The reduced gums inflammation may also give an impression of healthy gums.

  • Hinders the Capability of your Body to respond to bacteria in plaque

Neutrophils are essential cells in protecting against gum disease. As a smoker, you have many neutrophils in your body. Nonetheless, very few neutrophils can reach your gums as a result of nicotine's effects. Since neutrophils can't regulate the bacteria, there is a higher risk of gum disease developing.

How Does Smoking Stain your Teeth?

Just like your skin, your teeth have pores that absorb the tar and nicotine in tobacco, causing a brown or yellow discoloration. Even though nicotine is colorless, it turns yellow when combined with oxygen. That means even e-cigars with nicotine-infused e-juice can stain your teeth.

Reasons Why you See Darker Stains Around your Teeth's Edges or Near the Gum Line

  • Teeth Edges

Your teeth edges are the main areas where tartar will build up. Again, teeth edges are more porous than enamel and will absorb tar and nicotine stains much faster.

Also, people with stains on their teeth's edges don't floss or get a regular dental cleaning.

  • Staining near Your Gum Line

Receding gum lines is another effect of smoking. It means your gums shrink and pull away from your teeth hence exposing the roots of your teeth. Your teeth's roots consist of soft and porous dentin material that stains much faster.

Ways to Remove Stains on Your Teeth

Tobacco stains are often hard to remove since they have developed over many years of smoking. Besides, the stains have already settled into your enamel and penetrated to the dentin's outer layer. 

Luckily, the stains are not permanent and can be removed using professional teeth whitening products.  Smoking stains almost all your teeth and you can't be in a position to whiten the teeth using over-the-counter products like whitening strips or toothpaste. For this reason, you should use the professional services of a renowned dentist.

How Smoking Affect your Oral Health After Dental Surgery

Dental surgery is a severe ordeal that ranges from tooth implants to root extraction. Taking proper measures and time to recover after the surgery is very crucial. This is the reason why your dentist will recommend quitting smoking as one of the instructions to assist you in the recovery process. Highlighted below are impacts of smoking after the surgery:

  1. Delayed Healing

Smoking causes blood vessels to shrink. This means fewer nutrients and oxygen are transported throughout your body, including to the surgical area. Delayed healing also increases the risk of infection.

  1. Dry Socket

A dry socket is an infection that occurs after you have extracted a permanent tooth.  It occurs when a blood clot at the empty socket fails to appear or is dislodged before the wound heals.

The blood clot acts as a protective layer over the nerve ending and bone in the empty socket. It also offers a foundation for new bone growth and soft tissue development.

Exposing the nerves and the underlying bone is very painful both in the socket and along nerves radiating to your face's side.

Smoking and Black Hairy Tongue

The term back hairy tongue is scary.  Well, it is harmless.  It is caused by excess bacteria growth in your mouth. The bacteria then build upon papillae (small rounded projections) that lie on the tongue's surface. The papillae can grow up to fifteen times their average length creating hair-like projections.

Papillae are pinkish-white. However, as they grow, tobacco pigments get trapped, dyeing your tongue black.

Practicing proper oral hygiene alongside consuming a lot of roughage and water is the most effective way to treat this condition.

Tooth Decay and Smoking

Whenever you smoke, your saliva flow is stimulated immediately. In the long run, this reduces the buffering power and pH, making your mouth more acidic. It also increases the risk of dental erosion and getting teeth decay.

It is also vital noting that pregnant women who smoke are more likely to give birth to children who will have tooth decay before joining preschool.

Mouth Cancer

More than 80% of patients with oral cancers are heavy smokers. The risk of being diagnosed with mouth cancer depends on the frequency and duration of tobacco use.  Mouth cancer can occur in your gums, lips, cheeks' inner lining, tongue, under the tongue or the roof of your mouth.  It is grouped in the head and neck cancer category.

Common signs and symptoms of mouth cancer include a sore that does not heal, a red or white patch inside your mouth, a growth inside the mouth, loose teeth, ear pain, experiencing difficulty when swallowing, and mouth pain. Make sure you see a dentist if you experience any symptom that lasts or bothers you for more than two weeks. Your dentist will first investigate other causes of your symptoms like infections before coming up with a conclusion.

Why are Regular Dental Check-ups Important?

The most excellent way to take care of your oral health is by visiting a dentist for regular checkups. Diagnosing a dental condition in its early stages makes the treatment process smooth and reduces costs and the pain. The American Dental Association (ADA) has not specified how long you should take before you have your teeth checked up. This is because oral health varies with different people.

Nevertheless, depending on your general health as well as risk factors like smoking, your dentist should be in a position to advise how often you should visit them.

Moreover, it is crucial that you book an appointment with your dentist whenever you notice changes in your oral health.

How to Quit Smoking

Now that you know the risks of smoking that does not mean it is easy to quit smoking. Whether you are an occasional smoker or a pack-a-day smoker, kicking the habit is very hard. To successfully quit smoking, you need to change your behavior and come up with healthier habits to manage nicotine withdrawal signs and symptoms as well as your moods.  With the correct strategy, you can break this addiction and join thousands of people who have stopped smoking for good.

Find a Downey Dentist Near Me

Giving up smoking can be challenging. However, you do not have to do it alone. The Downey Dentist has been proud to offer quality services to the community of Downey for many years. Our qualified team understands the importance of balancing your oral health and a beautiful smile. This is the reason why we are dedicated to offering you a comfortable experience that meets your needs. Please feel free to contact us at 562-746-0350 and learn about the different ways in which you can quit smoking and improve your dental health.