There really is very little doubt about the fact that smoking, or any form of tobacco use, is terrible for your health. Dentists in Silver Spring and other health organizations are constantly warning the public against the dangers of this habit. The problem about advertisements against smoking is that it tends to highlight the long-term ramifications of tobacco-use, such as lung cancer and heart disease. As a result, the warning signs tend to be ignored, especially by young smokers who feel as though they have their whole lives to quit…
“I’ll quit smoking before I get old enough to fall sick from it.”
“I’ve only been smoking for a few years. Not enough to kill me yet!”
“I don’t plan on being a lifelong smoker, so I’ll be safe.”
Aside from the fact that these sentiments are completely illogical, smoking has a variety of undesirable effects on the body that manifest themselves in the short term. And in no other area are these effects more visible than in the health of your teeth and gums.
The Effects of Smoking on Your Oral Health
Smoking, by its very nature, is a counter-intuitive addiction for us to develop. It tastes awful, it makes you stink like an ashtray and it dictates your day-to-day behaviors to quite a large extent. Our bodies were not designed to be able to inhale smoke; otherwise we would have evolved with some kind of inbuilt filter! Instead, we suffer through the addiction, hating ourselves when we do smoke and feeling miserable when we don’t.
The psychological effects of smoking aside, this addiction takes a terrible toll on the health of your teeth and gums:
*”Dry Mouth”: Smoking causes xerostomia or “dry mouth,” a condition marked by the slowed production of saliva in the mouth. Saliva is an important natural defense against bacteria, so those who suffer from dry mouth are more susceptible to cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.
*Soft Tissue Inflammation: Smoking burns and irritates the soft tissues in the mouth, causing the gums, tongue, palate and buccal lining (inner cheeks) to become inflamed and sensitive.
*Tooth Discoloration: The nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke seep into the tiny pores in your dental enamel, causing the teeth to become stained and discolored. In the long run, this can have a devastating effect on one’s smile aesthetics.
*Slowed Healing: Tobacco-use causes a squeezing of the blood vessel of the gums which restricts the amount of oxygen rich blood getting to the right place at the right time. This causes damage because this area won’t get enough blood and not having the right blood supply retards the natural healing processes in the mouth. This not only increases a person’s risk of developing oral infection or disease, it also
compromises their ability to fight it off and heal properly. Patients requiring dental surgery – especially dental implants – are warned to cease smoking in the weeks beforehand as it can substantially lower the chance of success.
*Gum Disease and Oral Cancer: Tobacco-use is one of the greatest causes of gum disease and oral cancer. Both are serious conditions that, unless diagnosed early and treated, are potentially fatal.
A Final Note from Dentists in Silver Spring Maryland
It’s not an easy undertaking for anyone, but quitting is the only way you can improve your chances of living a long, healthy and happy life. Find out what it is you need to kick the habit today and DO IT.