Since tobacco is known to cause cancer and impact your health in a variety of terrible ways, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that it’s also bad for your smile. From rotting your teeth to making your breath unbearable, smoking or chewing tobacco is arguably the worst habit for your oral health. Discover why using tobacco is virtually a death sentence for your oral health.
Tobacco – A Poison in Many Forms
If you’re thinking, “Oh, I don’t smoke tobacco, I chew it or vape so I’m probably fine”, nice try, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the problems that stem from chewing tobacco are just as harmful as smoking it, but they affect your teeth in different ways. For example, those who chew tobacco may not have to worry about lung cancer, but oral cancer becomes more likely. It’s important to realize that every form of tobacco takes its toll on your teeth.
Vaping – Safer than cigarettes, yet still not great for your oral health
Since vaping has been around for less than a decade, there is minimal research on it and no reliable long term studies. However, some ways that it affects your smile have been found. For instance, we know that the hot air released from an e-cigarette dries your mouth out, leaving it more vulnerable to plaque and other problems. As vaping becomes more common, we’ll be able to make a more accurate estimate of the damage it causes to your smile.
Vaping is a safer alternative, but little is known about its long term effects.
The Two Main Ways That Smoking Ruins Your Smile
While we know about the impact of smoking tobacco and the diseases it causes, few understand why this habit has such a dire effect. Ultimately, the damage caused by smoking can be summed up into these two core factors:
1. Smoking causes you to produce more bacterial plaque
Plaque and bacteria are both responsible for the most common dental diseases, including cavities and gum disease. Smoking dries your mouth out and causes the production of this bacteria to increase, thereby leading to a greater likelihood of gum disease and other problems.
2. Smoking reduces oxygen in the blood delaying the healing process
With less oxygen in the bloodstream due to smoking tobacco, the diseases you develop won’t heal as quickly if at all. This means that a light case of gum disease that would normally heal very easily is likely to continue to get worse for habitual smokers.
How Does Tobacco Use Affect These Common Dental Problems?
While increased instances of gum disease may be the most common way tobacco damages your smile, it’s not the only one. Discover how tobacco plays a role in these other dental problems and how to solve each of them.
Tobacco Use and Sleep Apnea
Not surprisingly, tobacco use is extremely harmful to sleep apnea sufferers. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a problem where the patient wakes up numerous times throughout the night, preventing them from getting quality sleep. Research has identified a link between sleep apnea and smoking, considering both involve the health of your airway and respiratory system.
If you’re impacted by sleep apnea and you’re a smoker, it’s strongly recommended that you seek help for both. Only a sleep specialist can diagnose and treat your sleep apnea, and they’re often dentists, like Dr. Jennifer Buchanan in San Rafael, CA. No matter which doctor you visit, they’ll definitely agree that smoking is going to make the problem worse.
Tobacco Use and Missing Teeth
Since smoking exacerbates problems in the mouth and makes it more difficult to heal, tobacco use can definitely contribute to missing teeth. Many of the dental conditions that start off as a minimal threat, such as gum disease, can evolve into serious problems that can cost you your teeth.
If you end up with one or more missing teeth, the optimal solution is dental implants. With many exclusive advantages, dental implants look better than other restorations, last longer, and restore a greater amount of functionality. Only 10% of dentists are qualified to place implants, but qualified providers shouldn’t be hard to find in most areas. For example, folks in the midwest can visit Dr. Fleming from Dentistry of Nashville for new dental implants, whereas those in Florida can have their questions answered by Dr. Hart at Sweet Hart Dental.
Drop Your Smoking Habit and Your Smile Will Thank You
Everyone knows that brushing and flossing are the cornerstones of a healthy smile, but many don’t know that their negative habits can undo their positive progress. If you’re a smoker, you must know that the habit can take a toll on nearly every aspect of your health, including your smile. Finding the help you need to quit this deeply harmful addiction may be the best thing you ever do for your health.