There are no ifs, ands, or “butts” about it: smoking can be detrimental to oral health. Beyond the bad breath and yellow teeth, do you really know what you’re getting yourself into by smoking every day? Probably not.
There are quite a few uncertainties surrounding smoking and oral health, especially as tobacco alternatives become more prevalent in the market. Smoking, your mouth, and your health are deeply interconnected and below, we’ll discuss the common health issues you should be aware of when it comes to smoking.
Top 10 Oral Health Problems Associated With Smoking
Smoking can damage your oral health in both the short and long term. The most common complications include:
- Bad breath
- Discoloration or yellowing of the teeth
- Salivary gland inflammation (particularly on the roof of the mouth)
- Increased plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth
- Increased bone loss in the jaw
- Increased risk of leukoplakia, a condition that manifests as white or gray patches on the tongue, cheek, or roof of the mouth due to chronic irritation of mucous membranes
- Increased risk of gum disease, which can cause future tooth loss
- Delayed healing after any major procedure such as tooth extraction, periodontal treatments, or oral surgery
- Decreased success rates of dental implant procedures
- Increased risk of oral cancer
Cigarettes Aren’t the Only Culprit Causing Oral Health Complications
Cigarettes are not the only tobacco product detrimental to your oral health. Pipes and cigars can cause the same health problems as cigarettes, and in some cases, pipe and cigar users also experience an increased risk for pharyngeal or throat cancer.
Because of this, many tobacco users turn to smokeless tobacco products like snuff and chewing tobacco. However, these products also increase the risk for cancer of the mouth, throat, and esophagus. In fact, some of these products, particularly chewing tobacco, are actually worse than cigarettes in terms of their negative oral health effects.
It’s Best To “Butt” This Habit out of Your Life Once and for All
According to the American Cancer Society, smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop cancer of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat. This makes it apparent that using any type of tobacco product compromises your health in a significant way.
By understanding the implications of tobacco use, you can stay informed and aware of the health complications you may face in the future. Better yet, you can use this information as motivation to stop smoking, chewing, or snuffing once and for all to protect your smile and your life.
Smoking and Oral Health. (2014, May 22). Retrieved June 2, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/smoking-oral-health?page=2