We have always known that ‘Smoking is injurious to health’. In fact, the cigarette pack comes with a labelled warning itself. However, among many drawbacks of smoking, it mainly initiates gum problems, complications after tooth removal, tooth loss, and surgery in the mouth. With increasing risks, even smokers have switched to vaping in order to reduce their nicotine intake. While they feel that they are moving to a ‘healthier’ lifestyle, even vaping (e-cigarette) can ruin your healthy smile.
Today we will discuss the effects of smoking and vaping on oral health in order to prevent the worst.
Effects of Smoking on Oral Health
Some of the most common oral problems are:
- Gum (or periodontal) disease
- Whitening of the soft tissue in the mouth (also called smoker’s keratosis)
- Poor healing after tooth removal (also. known as a dry socket)
- Mouth cancer
- Decreased taste
- Tooth loss
- Poor restoration after mouth and gum surgery
- Tooth decay
- Bad taste in the mouth and bad breath (called halitosis)
What is a Gum (periodontal) Disease?
Smoking can cause periodontal disease that destroys the bone structure surrounding and supporting your teeth, resulting in falling out of teeth. Gum disease is an infection that commences from bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria left on teeth and gums form dental plaque, which over time gets worse with smoking. Constant smoking can cause inflammation around the tooth, and the irritation on the gums affect the bone and other supporting structures, resulting in tooth loss.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Red or swollen gums
- Painful chewing
- Discharge (pus) coming from your gums
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
- A bad taste or bad breath
- Sensitive teeth
- Spaces opening between your teeth
- Loose teeth
Smoking reduces your immune system, which makes it more difficult to fight off a gum infection. If you are a smoker,
- You are more likely to get gum disease than a non-smoker.
- You will have a higher risk of tooth loss which affects your confidence majorly.
- Over time, treatments of gum disease may not work on smokers.
Mouth Cancer and its Symptoms
With the use of tobacco, you increase your risk of oral cancer, which is most likely to occur on the floor of the mouth, the side of the tongue, and lips. However, mouth cancer includes the tongue, lips, cheek, and roof or bottom of the mouth; therefore, it can also occur in other areas of the mouth.
You should visit your dentist or any oral health clinic if you notice,
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth
- A sore throat
- Persistent ulcer in your mouth
- Swelling in your mouth
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Dentures suddenly not fitting properly
Early diagnosis is quite essential regarding oral cancer since overlooking the symptoms or ignoring the treatment may lead to cancer in different parts of the body.
Effects of Vaping on Oral Health
Today vaping has taken the upper hand among teenagers who prefer e-cigarettes while believing that it has fewer risks from smoking a traditional cigarette. Instead, vaping can cause long term damage to your mouth and lead to gum disease, damage to the enamel and soft tissue, tooth loss, among other dental problems.
How Can You Prevent and Treat Gum Disease?
In order to prevent gum disease, you must,
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Floss often to remove bacteria and food debris that forms plaque.
- See a dentist for routine checkups and professional exams and cleanings.
- If you are a smoker, then first try to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke in a day to commence the process of quitting.
To treat severe gum disease, visit your dentist’s office for a comprehensive dental checkup. Your dentist will take the essential steps required for the treatment based on the dental issue keeping the best interest of your teeth’s hygiene.
Smoking can lead to tooth decay and can be challenging for restorative dentistry while causing tooth discolouration, damage to the aesthetics of your overall smile, and emitting lousy breath. And bad breath is the last thing you would want. Therefore, it is better to quit smoking to persist a healthy mouth, white teeth, fresh breath and firm gums.
Rouse Hill Smiles Dental Care provides a wide range of affordable dental care services that meet all your needs. If you find this article helpful or require more information regarding dental issues, you can contact us for consultations or clinic visits.