Smoking - The Dangers To Your Oral Health

How quitting smoking can help our Eltham patients have much healthier teeth and gums

AR Smiles offers its local patients a wide range of treatments that can both restore teeth to a fully functional state (or replace them where that can’t be achieved) and also help patients to have a more attractive smile using treatments like teeth whitening and dental veneers.

Despite all of these advances in dentistry over the years though, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that preventative care still plays a huge part in how healthy a patient’s teeth and gums are likely to be over the years. The most obvious thing that people can, and should, do is to brush their teeth well, floss between their teeth and see the dental hygienist and dentist as recommended.

There is another area though which includes diet and lifestyle and there is one particular aspect of this that we are going to look at today. It is possibly the single worst thing that you can do to harm your oral health. We are, of course, talking about smoking.

Despite the bans, increasing prices of cigarettes and other factors, there are still thought to be around 6.5 million people who still smoke in the country. Many of these are in the younger age groups which will be good news for tobacco companies who will probably sense a potentially growing market.

While we have all heard about lung cancers and heart diseases caused by smoking, many people may not be aware of the harm that smoking can do to your oral health. Let us take a look at the main issues now.

Mouth cancer

Mouth cancer, or oral cancer, may not be as well known as some other types of cancer but it can still be deadly. While treatments are available, they are usually most effective when started early. Whether you smoke or not, this is yet another reason to make sure that you keep your six monthly check ups at our Eltham dental practice. This enables us to monitor your oral health on a regular and ongoing basis.

While other things, such as excessive alcohol consumption and HPV can also contribute to oral cancer, smoking is the single biggest factor. Stopping smoking now may save you more than a small fortune; it could save your health .. or even your life.

Gum disease

Even if you manage to avoid oral cancer; if you smoke you are certainly at a much higher risk of gum disease than patients who don’t smoke. There are many reasons for this, from the irritation of the smoke in the mouth to the dry mouth that most smokers get which can lead to an increase in the bacteria which can contribute to gum disease. Again, it is excellent practise to see your dental hygienist every six months for a professional clean.

This will help to minimise any risk of gum disease from becoming a serious problem, such as periodontitis which could lead to tooth loss.  If you currently have dental implants, smoking is also likely to increase the risk of peri-implantitis which can cause the implants to become loose and ultimately, may cause them to fail altogether.

Delayed healing

One thing that smoking does, and which also contributes to its effect on gum disease, is to narrow the tiny blood vessels that supply blood, and therefore oxygen, to the gums. Without an efficient flow, healing is likely to take longer. If you have had invasive dental surgery, you are likely to take longer to heal and are also at a more significant risk of further infections than someone who doesn’t smoke.

Stained teeth

Finally, a less important issue from a health angle is that smoking will stain your teeth, often quite badly. While looking to improve the whiteness of your teeth is a good thing, many smokers may not have the option of a straightforward teeth whitening procedure, or rather, the results may not be as effective if they do. You may instead need to have porcelain veneers fitted in order to achieve the whiteness that they want. Veneers are excellent of course and do last for a long time, but they do require minor invasive dentistry, something a teeth whitening procedure doesn’t.

As you can see, there is nothing positive about smoking and a great many reasons why you should quit. You may be able to find a local support group to help you do so if you feel it would be too difficult on your own.

Whether you smoke or not, you should continue to brush and floss your teeth and keep your regular appointments both with the dentist and hygienist at AR Smiles. If you would like to contact us to make your appointment, please call us today on 020 8856 7759.

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Site last updated December 2023
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