According to the WHO, over 1 billion people in the world are smokers. This includes those who smoke as little as on cigarette a week to those who smoke over a pack a day. The damage that smoking can inflict on one’s health is well documented. Smoking causes cancer and a range of pulmonary disorders that can be fatal.
Smoking can also severely impact one’s dental health. Data indicates that 16% of smokers have poor dental health. More than one out of three smokers have at least three dental health concerns, and smokers are also less likely to have visited the dentist in the past five years.
Consequently, dentists around the world encourage smokers to take additional care of their oral health because smoking can causes the following dental health concerns.
- Bad Breath
Smoking causes halitosis or bad breath. This occurs due to a number of reasons. One of the simplest explanations is that the smoke tends to linger in the lungs for a long time, which soon turns stale and causes an unpleasant odour. Additionally certain compounds used to enhance the taste and scent of tobacco can linger in the mouth, additionally leading to unpleasant breath.
- Plaque and Tartar
The sticky deposit that develops on the surface of the teeth is known as plaque. The bacteria in the oral cavity proliferates within the plaque. If not addressed immediately, plaque hardens into tartar. Smoking can increases the build-up of plaque and tartar within the oral cavity, leading to a range of additional dental health issues including tooth decay and halitosis.
- Gum Disease
Smoking or consuming tobacco affects the attachment of the teeth to bone and soft tissue, leading to gum disease. Additionally smoking can affect the functioning of gum tissue cells, which in turn makes smokers susceptible to infections and periodontal disease. Symptom include tenderness and redness of the gums, bleeding during brushing, pain when chewing, halitosis, pus, and even a receding gum line.
Additionally smoking can also cause dental discoloration, loss of bone, leukoplakia, oral cancer, and delayed healing within the oral cavity.
In order to mitigate such dental ailments, dentists strongly suggest smokers quit the habit as soon as possible. However, for those who continue to smoke, regular dental visits can go a long way towards keeping such health concerns at bay. Along with regular dental care, a dental practitioner will help set up an oral care regime best suited to one’s needs. This will ensure one’s dental health is safeguarded as much as possible, despite smoking.