Smoking and Tobacco
You are surely aware that the use of tobacco products is hazardous to your health. It is not surprising that these risks include oral health. Smoking and chewing tobacco can endanger the health and appearance of your smile in many ways.
This is the earliest stage of periodontal (gum) disease. The most noticeable sign is gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss. It can also cause inflammation, sensitivity, and discoloration of gum tissues. These symptoms are usually mild, and may not be present at all, making it a particularly insidious disease. Without treatment, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, causing loss of gum and bone tissue, as well as endangering your overall health.
It is well known that smoking increases the risk of developing lung cancer. However, you may not know that it can also lead to cancerous lesions on the inside of your mouth and throat. Many people mistakenly believe smokeless products to be safer, but they carry an even higher risk of oral cancer.
Smoke and smokeless tobacco products are among the most common causes of stained teeth. A receding gumline and gingivitis further detract from the appearance of your smile.
Tobacco use inhibits proper functioning of your immune system and slows the healing process. This can increase the recovery time and risk of complication in dental or medical procedures. Smoking is one of the most common reasons for failure of dental implants.
Tobacco directly contributes to odor problems. It also contributes indirectly by increasing your risk of gum disease, open wounds in your mouth, and infections, which can all cause bad breath.
There is only one way to reduce tobacco related health risks. Don't smoke, chew, or use any product containing tobacco. If you have never started, don't - your life may depend on it. If you currently smoke or use any tobacco product, quitting is the only way to protect your smile, and the rest of your body. This is easier said than done, due to the addictive nature of nicotine. Several products and programs can ease the process. Ask your dentist or doctor for recommendations. Any medical professional will be happy to help you quit this health destroying habit.