5 Reasons Why Smoking is Bad for Your Teeth

1) Bad breath is the least of your concerns.

Bad breath is one of the most common side effects of smoking cigarettes. It’s also one of the more minor concerns. Although bad breath is annoying, it can be helped with mouthwash, gum chewing, and mints. However, the main issue that comes with bad breath is slightly more nefarious – the chemicals found in cigarettes linger in the mouth. They are what cause bad breath, as well as some of the other issues explained below. The smell of a smoker’s breath can be alleviated, but chewing gum and eating mints won’t remove the chemicals. And that’s the scary part.

2) It makes your teeth discolored.

Another fairly minor issue caused by cigarette smoking is discolored teeth. The nicotine in cigarettes settles onto your teeth, making them yellow. The more you smoke, the yellower they will be. They might even begin to turn brown over time. This is not appealing, and many whitening kinds of toothpaste won’t be able to reverse all of the damage. You’ll have to turn to chemical bleaching and professional whitening agents, which have their own issues, including increased sensitivity. You’re basically exchanging one problem for another. Even if you quit smoking, your yellow teeth may linger for a while, unless you take the steps necessary to clear up the problem.

3) Smoking can lead to tooth decay.

Smoking cigarettes essentially cause a bacterial tooth decay party in your mouth. Even if you brush and floss your teeth regularly, they’re still going to be home to many different types of bacteria – all of which can decay your teeth. The bacterial plaque caused by eating sugary and starchy foods is minor in comparison to the one that cigarettes cause. This plaque can be tough to remove if you aren’t a professional dental hygienist. This is a part of what causes your teeth to yellow (most of that is due to nicotine, however), but it definitely leads to tooth decay. Smokers are more prone to cavities than more people for this very reason.

4) You could end up with gum disease.

The same bacterial plaque that causes tooth decay can also lead to gum disease. The gums of most long-term smokers aren’t healthy and pink. Instead, they are red and inflamed. The pockets that form along the gum line become home to many different types of bacteria, which will eat away at the roots of your teeth, as well as the bone beneath them. If this process isn’t halted, you could end up losing your teeth. And, even if you undergo the right treatments for gum disease, as long as you continue to smoke you’re opening up your gums to the same problems.

5) Smoking can cause oral cancer.

Smoking is the leading cause of oral cancer. Oral cancer can affect the tongue, gums, the interior of the mouth, and the upper part of the throat. Every time you breathe in cigarette smoke, you’re inhaling the chemicals that lurk in cigarettes. Modern-day cigarettes contain far more than just tobacco – they also a number of cancer-causing agents that are designed to make the tobacco taste better and be more addictive. Those chemicals linger in the mouth long after you’re smoked a cigarette, causing bad breath. They can also change the makeup of your mouth cells, which will mutate in response, turning into cancerous tumors.

As you can see, smoking cigarettes can cause a number of tooth-related problems, from bad breath to yellowed and stained teeth. It can also cause your teeth to rot, your gums to recede, and for oral cancer to set in. Although these problems can be treated, if you continue to smoke, you’ll just be contributing the problem and causing your progress to backslide. For this reason and more, it’s better just to quit smoking.

When it comes to quitting smoking, there are many methods to reach for, from hypnotism to nicotine-laced gum and mints. You could also quit cold turkey, as long as you have the willpower to do so. Once you quit smoking, you’ll be able to have your tooth issues properly treated. They won’t reoccur (as long as you brush your teeth and floss regularly) and the treatments will be effective. You can save every tooth in your mouth if you quit smoking and go to the dentist regularly.

Author Bio : This guest post is a work of Peter Young in support of Thantakit Dental Center in Bangkok.