The majority of dental patients are now aware that smoking is bad for their health. Smoking is linked to many different medical problems and, in some cases, fatal diseases. However, many patients still don’t realize the damage that smoking does to their mouth, gums, and teeth.
Smoking can/will lead to tooth staining, gum disease, tooth loss, and in extreme cases mouth cancer.
Why are my teeth so yellow/stained?
One of the noticeable effects of smoking is staining on the teeth. This is due to the nicotine and tar in the tobacco. It can make your teeth appear yellow in a very short time, and heavy smokers (pack of smokes a day) often complain that their teeth are almost brown after years of smoking.
What are the effects of smoking on my gums and teeth?
The short answer, smoking can lead to gum disease. People who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque, which are one of the main factors in gum disease. The gums are troubled because smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums can’t and won’t heal. Smoking promotes dental plaque and causes gum disease to get worse rather quickly than in non-smokers. Gum disease is the number 1 cause of tooth loss in adults.
Could smoking cause cancer?
Most people know that smoking can help cause lung and throat cancer, but many experts still can’t agree if it is one of the main causes of mouth cancer too. Every year thousands of people die from mouth cancer brought on by smoking (See: NSA).
Are there any special dental products I can use?
There are special types of toothpastes for people who smoke. They are a little more abrasive than ordinary toothpastes and you should read the instructions before using them. Our dentists at Delta Dental Clinic recommends that you use these toothpastes alternately with your usual toothpaste. There are also several ‘whitening’ toothpastes on the market. Although they do not affect the natural colour of your teeth, they will help in removing stains, and therefore may improve the overall appearance of your teeth and smile.
Are mouthwashes effective?
Smokers may find they are more likely to have bad breath than non-smokers. Fresh-breath products such as mouthwashes may help to disguise the problem in the short term, but will not cure it. Dr. Dhir (Delta Dentist), recommends you use mouthwash in the morning and before you sleep.
How often should I see my dentist?
It is important that you see your dentist (twice a year) for a normal check-up and a full mouth examination so that any other oral conditions can be spotted in it’s early stages.
You should visit your dental team regularly, or as often as they recommend. People who smoke are more likely to have stained teeth, and therefore may need special cosmetic dentistry appointments.
What can my dentist do for me?
Your dentist is your best friend when it comes to oral health. Your dentist will carry out a regular examination to make sure that your teeth and gums are in order. Your dentist is also a valuable resource if you have any questions or concerns about your teeth. Getting to know your dentist can go a long way to a healthier mouth.
Your dentist will also examine your cheeks, tongue and throat for any signs of other conditions that may need more investigation. When in doubt, just ask your dentist. They will be happy to help.
They may also be able to put you in touch with organizations and self-help groups who will have the latest information to help you stop smoking.
Will I need any extra treatment?
If you are a smoker, most likely you will need extra dental treatments. But rest assure, the treatments are out there. And if you delay, it’s only going to get worst.