Everyone knows that smoking causes harmful effects on your entire body but what about your mouth specifically? The most obvious effects being bad breath, tooth discoloration and loss of taste and smell, but there can be more serious periodontal problems.
When you take a puff of that cigarette, cigar or pipe, think beyond what it’s doing to your lungs and your heart. Think about what it’s doing to your mouth and teeth. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. As you inhale, the smoke lingers in your mouth before you exhale, even if you don’t inhale fully. Imagine what those 4,800 chemicals hanging around in your mouth can do to your teeth and gums. None of it is good!
Every puff of smoke that gets into your body starts by passing your lips, tongue, teeth and gums.
Tobacco-related conditions of the mouth include:
- Brown to blackish staining of teeth, dentures and dental restorations.
- Increased risk of leukoplakia (a lesion in the mouth which can develop into cancer).
- Increased risk of tooth decay and tooth loss.
- Bad breath and impaired taste.
- Smoker’s melanosis (brown spots on the gums).
- Black hairy tongue (bacteria, yeast and debris collecting on the tiny bumps on the tongue).
- Smoker’s palate (the roof of the mouth becomes thickened and pale or white).
- Dental implants are more likely to fail.
- Some enzyme activity in saliva is reduced by chemicals in tobacco smoke(Source: quit.org).
Not to mention thousands of people die yearly from mouth cancers.
If you are a smoker, you should perform self-checks on a regular basis. Smokers should check for sores around the face, mouth, and neck. If the sores persist after two weeks, it is a sign of a more serious problem. People who smoke should also check for recurrent bleeding in the mouth, lesions, swelling, and lumps. White, red, or dark patches on the inside of the mouth, under the tongue, and on the cheeks that last more than two weeks should be brought to the attention of your dentist immediately.
When you quit smoking, you’ll be at less risk for gum disease, bad breath, stained teeth and cancer. You’ll be healthier and have a huge reason to smile!
For more information on your oral health contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS. Make an appointment by calling 469-718-0128 or visit our website at www.dallascosmeticdental.com.