People are now generally aware that smoking isn’t good for your health. Whilst it is well known that the habit can lead to serious lung and heart issues, the effects that it can have on your oral health are sometimes forgotten. We have compiled a list of mouth-related issues that could potentially arise as a result of smoking.
A little-known fact is that smoking causes a reduction of oxygen in the bloodstream, which can actually affect your gums. Why? A lack of oxygen means that your gums can’t fight intrusive substances. So when smoking-related plaque builds up, your gums aren’t able to respond like they normally would. This in turn leads to a rapid onset of gum disease, which can wreck havoc in your mouth and eventually lead to tooth loss.
Bad breath—clinically known as halitosis—is a typical side-effect of smoking. Primarily caused by the tobacco in cigarettes, bad breath can also be a secondary effect of a dry mouth (commonly associated with smoking). Saliva is necessary in washing away dead cells in the mouth—but with a dry mouth, less of these cells are removed. Instead, they decompose and release toxins that cause bad breath.
Nicotine and tar found in tobacco are both substances that are guilty of causing yellow, stained teeth. Some long-term smokers even complain about their teeth turning brown! How does this happen? Nicotine, which is usually colourless, turns yellow when it combines with oxygen. On the other hand, tar is brown in its original state. Both substances sink into the pores of your teeth, which is why they become stained very easily.
Smoking is commonly known to cause lung cancer, but oral diseases such as mouth cancer are sometimes overlooked. Tobacco is carcinogenic, and has the ability to alter the DNA in cells and make them cancerous. This means that chewing tobacco as well as smoking it can be risky. According to the Mouth Cancer Foundation, smokers are six times more likely than non-smokers to develop mouth cancer—definitely something to be aware of.
How We Can Help
Here at GDC Liverpool, we’re here to help. As well as offering oral cancer screening to put your mind at rest, we also offer teeth whitening and other services that can help diminish the cosmetic effects of smoking.
Want to get in touch directly? Fill in our contact form here, or:
Telephone: 0151 722 3000
Email: [email protected]