The Dangers of Tobacco: How Smoking Can Affect Your Oral Health

June 20, 2015 — by Dr. Nathaniel Podilsky
Tags: General Dentistry Tooth Decay Restorative Dentistry

Close-up of a lit cigarette, which can seriously and negatively affect a person’s oral healthIf you’re a smoker, you have probably thought about quitting at least a thousand times before. Maybe you’ve even tried to kick the habit once or twice - or a dozen times. It can be hard, to say the least.

However, when patients of Dr. Nathaniel Podilsky’s learn how smoking affects oral health during consultations at his Edmonton cosmetic, implant, family, and general dentistry practice, those who smoke are often shocked at how severe the consequences of their habit can be. Of course, the vast majority of adults who choose to smoke understand how harmful cigarettes, cigars, and pipes can be to their health. However, many do not realize just how seriously these products can damage their teeth, gums, and other delicate oral tissues.

If you currently smoke, you know many of the reasons that you should quit. This blog post presents a few more reasons, some of which you may not have known before. We hope that these might help to persuade you to give up smoking once and for all.

How Smoking Can Affect Your Oral Health

Smoking can affect your oral health in a variety of ways, from the appearance of your teeth to the state of your periodontal tissues. Here are just a few of the ways that smoking can be dangerous to your oral health:

  • It can give you terrible breath: This may seem like an obvious consequence of smoking, but we’re not just talking about the smell of tobacco on your breath. We’re talking about general bad breath, or chronic halitosis. You can develop general bad breath as a result of smoking due to a variety of factors, including the introduction of bacteria into your mouth; dry mouth syndrome, which is associated with smoking; and gum disease, for which you are at an increased risk as a smoker.
  • It can cause your smile to lose its natural radiance: Sure, you can undergo professional teeth whitening and lighten or even eliminate those tobacco stains. Indeed, the Zoom!® teeth whitening system we use at our practice is remarkably effective at tackling tobacco stains. However, if you continue to smoke after your teeth whitening treatment, your results won’t last as long as they otherwise would - not even close.
  • You are more likely to develop gum disease: Gum disease is already the most common disease among American adults, affecting roughly three-quarters of the population to varying degrees. However, it is virtually guaranteed that, as a smoker, you will experience gum disease. Not only that, but you will almost certainly hasten its progression from gingivitis, its earliest form, to periodontitis, its most severe form, at which point tooth loss and gum recession become serious risks.
  • Of course, you become susceptible to oral cancer: This may be the least surprising, but certainly the most frightening, of all the possible effects that smoking can have on your oral health. In its earliest stages, oral cancer is actually quite treatable and one of the most survivable forms of cancer; however, if not detected early, the survival rate plummets quickly. If you are a smoker, it is imperative that you visit our practice at least twice a year for thorough oral exams.

Learn More about How Smoking Affects Your Oral Health

To learn more about how smoking affects your oral health, please contact our cosmetic, implant, family, and general dentistry practice today.