Smoking and Your Teeth
Upper East Side Cosmetic Dentistry | Manhattan Dental Office
Smoking can have many effects on your body, but what about your teeth? If you are one of the 36 million smokers in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, you may want to better understand smoking's effects. For more information on how your teeth are affected by smoking, read on.
Cigarettes limit your mouth's abilities to fight off infection, which can cause bacteria to really take its toll on your teeth. Because your teeth cannot fight off infection as well, plaque and bacteria can collect in your mouth and lead to oral health issues. Tooth discoloration is one of the most popular effects of smoking. It is not uncommon for smokers to have yellow stained teeth. This is because the chemicals in tobacco cling to the enamel of teeth, which causes them to stain over time. While teeth whitening treatments can slow down this process, they cannot prevent discoloration entirely.
Bad breath is another unattractive effect smoking can have on your oral health. The particles of cigarettes remain in your mouth long after your cigarette is finished. This causes the smell of a cigarette to linger in your mouth and give you bad breath. Long-term smokers are likely to experience an overgrowth of bacteria, which forces your breath to smell no matter how much you gargle mouthwash or brush your teeth.
A more serious problem smoking can cause is gum disease. "Smokers are twice as prone to gum disease as nonsmokers," according to the CDC. Because smoking decreases your mouth's ability to fight off bacteria, your mouth cannot defend itself as well against bacteria that attacks your gums. Unfortunately, losing teeth is a common outcome for heavy smokers because of this.
Even more serious effects of smoking include oral cancer. "About 50,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with oral cancer each year and an estimated 80 percent of them are smokers," according to the CDC. "The risk of developing oral cancer increases when smoking is combined with heavy drinking." These dangerous behaviors can contribute to oral cancer symptoms, including red and white patches in the mouth, difficulty chewing and swallowing, jaw numbness and even ear pain.
If you are a smoker or have recently quit smoking, you want to protect your mouth as best as possible. At the Manhattan dental office of Joseph C. Lattinelli, DMD, our professional dentists can perform the treatments you need to achieve better oral health. To get in touch with our office, feel free to fill out our appointment request form on our website. We look forward to helping you achieve a healthier smile.