Old habits die hard, but this one needs to kick the bucket for good. Yes, smoking can be used as a method for de-stressing from your day or particularly awful situations, but at what cost? Is a moment of relief a good trade-off for harming your body?
Since the big advertising push that taught the general public about the negative effects of smoking, the harmful effects of cigarettes are pretty well known. They cause cancer, they blacken your lungs, and they increase your chances of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. Besides affecting these critical body parts, cigarettes also devastate your mouth and oral health.
What Smoking Does to Your Mouth
Prepare yourself for an extensive list about how smoking impacts your oral health.
1) Smoking will stain your teeth. The nicotine and tar found in cigarettes will permanently stain your teeth after repeated exposure. In a short time, smokers can find their teeth have turned yellow. After several years of smoking, heavy users often complain about the color of their teeth as they can be a brownish hue. The stains caused by smoking are not easy to remove and will render most teeth whitening kits ineffective.
2) Your gums will suffer. Gum disease is usually associated with smoking because people who smoke are more likely to produce bacteria-filled plaque. This plaque then leads to gum disease. Smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, which is bad news for infected gums because they can’t heal. Due to this fact, smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with gum disease. A prolonged gum irritation like this will affect the supporting structures of your teeth. If your gum line continues to recede, it could result in tooth loss.
3) You’ll have more cavities. Since smoking causes an increase of plaque buildup and gum problems, it’s logical that you’ll also be at a higher risk for tooth decay. Compared to those who don’t require cigarette breaks, smokers can have up to three times as many cavities. In addition to this problem, smokers will also have an increased sensitivity to hot and cold, which will be problematic when eating and drinking.
4) Smoking will give you bad breath. Given the amount of chemicals found in cigarettes, it’s not a surprise that most smokers have bad breath. Unfortunately, it’s not the kind that can be quickly covered by a breath mint or chewing gum. Every time you take a drag, more than 4,000 chemicals make their way through your oral cavity with several of them deciding to stay and make camp in your mouth. The bad breath symptom is also intensified by a dry mouth—another effect of smoking. A dry mouth can trigger gum infections and can irritate your sinuses.
5) Smokers are at risk for oral cancer. Here’s the big one. Smoking can cause cancer in your lungs and in your mouth. Smoking and chewing tobacco can put your mouth, tongue, lips, gums, and throat at risk to this deadly disease. Numbers released from Health Canada estimate there was 3,400 new cases or oral cancer last year. Men made up more than half of that number.
Oral cancer is a disease that’s often discovered too late or in an advanced condition. As a result, the death rate is particularly high. This year more than 1,000 Canadians will die from oral cancer.
Smoking is a deadly habit that harms your entire body. Your mouth is the first point of entry, and it will suffer serious lasting damage. Smoking can cause bad breath, stains, tooth loss, cavities, and oral cancer. It’s time to put down the cigarette and find a better stress outlet.