Even though smoking is less common than it was a few decades ago, many people still do it. It often provides relief from stress, which is something everyone needs on a regular basis. Unfortunately, people who turn to cigarettes for stress relief or other benefits end up paying a high price up and down their bodies. At Smile Designers in Longmont, we are very familiar with the effects of smoking on the teeth and mouth, and we are eager to help keep those symptoms at bay.

The Effects of Smoking On Your Teeth & Mouth

While dental technology and procedures have come a very long way, the following issues we’ll discuss can only be truly solved by quitting smoking. We can do a lot to slow them down and keep your dental health as strong as possible, though, so make sure you don’t go without dental care. At the very least, it’s important to understand the impacts that smoking can have on your dental health so that you understand what is going with your teeth. Knowledge really is power, and we’re here to provide the insights you need to make informed decisions.

Bad Breath

  • The saying “your breath smells like an ashtray” has genuine roots in the fact that cigarettes deliver a major one-two punch when it comes to your breath. Not only do cigarette particles linger in your mouth long after you finish smoking, the habit actually makes your mouth a friendly environment for a bunch of nasty bacteria. Depending on how long you have been smoking, your breath will smell horrible as a result of decay, gum disease, and oral sores. If you’ve been smoking for a really long time, your salivary glands can get inflamed to the point where they develop painful salivary stones and a swelling of the face.

Gum Disease

  • Many people focus on how smoking can damage the lungs, but the damage starts in your mouth. Studies from the CDC show that smokers run twice the risk of developing gum disease as nonsmokers. The risk gets worse every time you smoke, and even if you get treatment, it won’t be as effective. This happens because smoking diminishes the mouth’s ability to battle bacteria. Brushing, tartar removal, flossing, and even prescription rinses aren’t enough to counter the effects. As a result, bacteria builds up and spreads to the gums, and once that happens, the gums start to pull away from the teeth. This weakens the bone beneath the teeth, and eventually, the teeth fall out or have to be extracted. Because the mouths of smokers don’t heal well, the pain and complications can only get worse from there.

Delayed Healing

  • The hits keep coming when you smoke. Not only does smoking make your mouth vulnerable to all types of damage, but it also prevents your body from bouncing back from any type of procedure, dental or beyond.  While a dentist can mitigate the problems, the care can only do so much if the patient keeps smoking. Even if you turn to surgical implants to replace your teeth, you’ll face a decreased success rate. It’s a downward spiral made of increasing issues and decreasing solutions.

Tooth Discoloration

  • Cigarettes are full of chemicals, and many of them will stick to the enamel of your teeth. The result is deepening stains that can be partially slowed down with whitening treatments but never completely reversed.

Oral Cancer

  • Did you know that 80 percent of the 50,000 people diagnosed with oral cancer each year are smokers? Oral cancer is the worst of the mouth-related issues associated with smoking. It usually begins as difficulty swallowing, chewing, jaw numbness, or ear pain accompanied by a red or white patch in the mouth. While these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, anyone experiencing them for more than two weeks should see their doctor.

Make an Appointment With Smile Designers

As your dentists, we can create a treatment plan that helps your teeth last longer. If you want to leave the issues behind by quitting smoking, we can direct you toward resources to help you move forward. Either way, we are your dedicated allies when it comes to dental health. Make an appointment with our dental office in Longmont today!