Smoking Does a Lot of Damage to All of Your Oral Tissues
Posted on 10/19/2020 by Dick Hikade, DDS
Smoking is one of the most harmful activities that a patient can do. Smoking has been linked to a variety of cancers and respiratory problems for a long time. And the addictive effects of chemicals such as nicotine are well-documented. In addition to these problems, smoking can literally wreck a mouth – both directly and indirectly. By injuring the mouth, suppressing the mouth's antibacterial functions, and increasing the risks of long-term diseases, smoking is anathema to good oral health.
How Smoking Damages the Mouth
Smoking contributes greatly to gum disease by preventing the mouth from properly reacting to the bacteria responsible for plaque. The chemicals in cigarettes and e-cigs catalyze bone loss and gum recession. And long-term smoking resists the effects of professional treatments designed to treat gingivitis and periodontitis. Smokers with dental implants are roughly twice as likely to have a dental implant fail (11% for a smoker as opposed to 5% for a non-smoker). Smoking lowers the pH level of the mouth, making for a more acidic environment that attacks teeth's enamel and dentin. Smoking fortifies the bacteria responsible for tooth decay.
Smokers make up a majority (75% to 90%) of oral cancer patients, likely due to the carcinogens found in cigarettes and e-cigs. Smoking stains the teeth and the mouth itself due to the chemicals it introduces into the mouth. Smoking even stains the tongue, which also causes bad breath. The heat from smoking causes red bumps to form on the mouth.
Many of smoking's effects can be mitigated or even reversed when a patient quits smoking. If you would like more information about quitting smoking, or if you have questions about how smoking negatively affects your oral and overall health, please contact our office and your primary care provider.