Sure, you’ve probably heard your family and friends tell you why you should quit (or not start) smoking. It’s bad for your health, and usually, people point out that smoking causes diseases such as lung cancer and emphysema.
However, you don’t normally hear much about how smoking affects your oral health. But when you really think about it, it’s your oral health that gets affected first. After all, it’s the first part of your body that the smoke, tar, and all those other chemicals hit first.
According to the American Cancer Society, the most serious illness caused by smoking that is directly related to dental health is oral cancer. Studies have shown that over 90% of people who have any form of oral cancer are smokers, and that people who smoke are six times more likely to contract the disease than non-smokers.
Smoking also affects the gums, and can cause periodontal disease. It starts out as gum discoloration, and the more tar particles that build up in your gum tissue, the more likely you will get periodontal disease.
Eventually, your gums will become inflamed, which causes the bones underneath to become infected. Tooth deterioration and loss are inevitable for heavy smokers.
In general, no form of tobacco is safe. It doesn’t matter whether you’re chewing, smoking, or inhaling your tobacco; if your mouth is in regular contact with tobacco, it is dangerous and can cause cancer. The most effective way to prevent oral cancer is to not smoke or use tobacco.
While it is difficult for most smokers to quit, it is a personal achievement that will reward you for a long time to come. Not only will you live a longer, happier life, but you’ll enjoy a great white smile and fresh breath as well. You now know how smoking negatively impacts your oral health and we hope this helps you make the commitment to quit.