Smokers already have a lot to worry about. Tobacco reportedly kills about 6 million people each year. Tobacco use, especially cigarette smoking, has been linked to cancer, lung disease, and cardiovascular disease. Aside from these serious illnesses, tobacco is also responsible for its negative effects on oral health. Below are just a few of the side effects that smoking can have on your oral health.
Increased Build Up of Plaque and Tartar
Plaque is a film of bacteria that clings to your teeth while tartar is hardened plaque. The reason why dentists insist on brushing at a minimum of once a day is to help you avoid plaque and tartar buildup, as the accumulation of this bacteria leads to gum disease and eventually tooth loss. Smoking is known to facilitate plaque and tartar accumulation, so the more you smoke, the more tartar you are likely to have.
Increased Risk of Developing Gum Disease
Aside from causing plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth and in your gums, smoking has been known to interfere with the function of gum tissue cells. This means that smokers’ gums are more prone to infections and disease. Smoking may also affect wound healing of the gums, meaning that if you do get gum disease, you will have an even harder time recovering from it.
Increased Risk of Tooth Loss
When plaque and tartar buildup around your gums, the gums can become inflamed. This is known as gingivitis. When gingivitis is left untreated it may become periodontitis, or gum disease, which basically causes the gums to retract away from the teeth and leave space for bacteria to infect your mouth. As your gums retract from your teeth they can become loose and eventually you could lose some of your teeth to gum disease.
Smoking is a serious habit that has caused and will continue to cause many diseases that could be easily avoided. However, smoking is a tough habit to quit and has been reported to be one of the most difficult addictions to get over. The availability of cigarettes on the market definitely does not make it easy; however, studies have shown that the number of smokers has steadily decreased over the past years.
If you are unable to quit smoking you should make sure you are having regular dental checkups. This way your dentist can catch any gum disease early. Click here to set up an appointment today.