Dentists abhor when their patients succumb to smoking cigarettes. Why? Because it does more damage to your oral health than you probably know.
The fact that one in five cigarette smokers die of a smoking-related illness is common knowledge. But what about the other, less discussed harmful side effects of smoking? Each time you take a drag on a cigarette, nicotine enters your system through your mouth cavity before entering the rest of your system. This is where the trouble starts.
According to Discovery Health, “because what you smoke passes over your teeth and through your gums, your mouth is nicotine central — in a very bad way.” The result? Yellow, nicotine-stained teeth and horrible breathe…but not only that. The damage smoking does to your gums is even worse.
The fact is, smoking accounts for 75% of periodontal disease (aka gum disease) among adults. Also, smokers have a seven times greater change of having periodontal disease than a nonsmoker. As you can see, in a healthy mouth the gums will stay snug around the base of the tooth. In a smoker’s mouth, the gums begin to recede and eventually “ exposes the roots of teeth, leaving them vulnerable to tooth decay.”
The more the gums deteriorate, the looser they become thus forming pockets for food particles to get trapped in. Bacteria begins to form in these pockets, feeding on the trapped food particles. This bacterial growth leads to mouth sores, infections, and plaque development. If the plaque is left lingering too long, it will turn into tartar — “a hard, cement-like layer around the gums and between teeth. Tartar makes the gum situation worse, causing additional irritation, bleeding and pain.”
Lastly, in extreme cases smoking can lead to bone loss in the jaw as well as oral cancers. If you’re still skeptical of smoking’s harm to your health, consider this: new research has linked oral health to the health of the entire body. Poor oral health may have an influence on infections, inflammations, and other diseases throughout the body.
Consider this: nonsmokers live an average of 14 years longer than nonsmokers. That’s more than just a few years of memories you’ll be missing out on.
Dr. Mike Malone and his team practice expert cosmetic dentistry in Lafayette, LA. Dr. Malone is the former president and current accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is also the official Cosmetic Dentist of the Miss Louisiana USA and Miss Louisiana Teen USA pageants. Check out his website for more information.