Who wouldn't want the brightest and healthiest smile possible? The obvious answer is "Nobody." Yet, many people subject their teeth, gums, tongue and other parts of their mouths to the hazards of tobacco use. Whether smoking cigarettes or chewing it, tobacco use can really damage your smile.
What cigarette smoke does to the mouth The list of the adverse effects of cigarette smoking is long. Most are well-known but bear repeating. An experienced dentist will often detect the following problems when looking into the oral cavity of a smoker:
Staining. Smokers have a generalized discoloration of their teeth with dark brown stains particularly noticeable on the front teeth where cigarettes are held. If someone stops smoking, this may be reversed with dental cleaning, whitening and diligent at-home hygiene.
Halitosis (bad breath).
Increased build-up of plaque and tartar. Everyone deals with plaque and tartar, but this increases for people who smoke cigarettes. The Canadian Dental Association has stated that this build-up leads to more cavities and gum disease. Tooth loss can soon follow.
Tooth sensitivity. Teeth become sensitive to both hot and cold beverages and food as gums recede and roots become exposed.
Oral cancer. Cancer can disfigure and even kill the person who is diagnosed with cancerous lesions in her/his mouth.
Congenital defects. If a woman smokes while pregnant, research shows an increased risk of cleft lip and palate for her baby.
What chewing tobacco does to the mouth Even chewing tobacco can ruin a user's smile. The most obvious problem is extensive staining of tooth enamel and uneven wearing down of the teeth. In addition, many people do not realize that tobacco has a high sugar content, and therefore contributes to tooth decay. Lastly, oral cancers have been directly linked to chewing tobacco. Leukoplakia, a precancerous oral lesion, is also caused by long-term use of chewing of tobacco. The American Cancer Society says that 3 out of 4 users of tobacco have leukoplakia.
What to do about tobacco and your oral health The simple answer is to stop abusing tobacco products in every form. Of course, many individuals would love to shake their cigarette or tobacco chewing habit but the nicotine in tobacco is incredibly addicting. Physicians and dentists alike recommend one-on-one tobacco cessation treatment and group support during the process of quitting as the best way to succeed.
Kaydental offers a wide range of dental services. Drs. Stephen M. Kay and Melvyn A. Kay of Kay Dental in the North York and Toronto, Ontario area want to help you reach the goal of an attractive and healthy smile. They will examine your teeth and gums, discuss the concerns you have about your dental and overall health and formulate a plan of care and treatment for the best teeth and gums possible, including recommendations and support to help you quit your use of tobacco.