Smoking tobacco, such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or vape pens, can cause gum disease and tooth decay. It can also affect the lifespan of dental restorations. Learning about how smoking affects your smile can help you avoid any damage and take preventive measures soon.
Here we will discuss smoking’s impact on your teeth, your gums, and your dental restorations.
Bacteria: the real culprit
You should know that the bacteria enter your mouth from smoking. They are the biggest causes of poor oral health.
The chemicals present in tobacco have particular kinds of bacteria. These bacteria can strain and affect everything in your mouth, from your saliva to your immune response.
Also, drier mouths promote bacterial growth, causing high tartar, plaque, and gum disease.
Smoking weakens your mouth’s immune responsiveness, making it hard to counter infection. It makes your mouth defenceless against everyday bacteria. So, your mouth is exposed to the bacteria that smoking brings to your mouth.
Smoking and your Teeth
Smoking can negatively impact the health of your teeth. Smoking tobacco of any kind can cause tooth decay, discolouration, and enamel damage.
- Tooth discolouration – Once you have begun smoking, it will not take long before your teeth have a yellowish, dull appearance. Even vaping, which is said to be a ‘better’ alternative to smoking, causes tooth discolouration. Regular smoking can cause early tooth discolouration. It can even cause your teeth to turn grey or brown.
- Tooth enamel health – Smoking can cause weak enamel. The acids present in the smoke wear away at your enamel. It causes stains which contribute to enamel erosion and tooth discoloration. Chewing tobacco can also damage your enamel, as the grit in tobacco can cause friction that wears away your enamel.
- Tooth loss – Smoking raises your risk of tooth decay, which contributes to tooth loss. Research shows that smokers have high levels of bacteria that contribute to tooth decay. Bacteria that cause tooth decay form tartar and plaque build-up in your mouth. The inflammation near the tooth caused due to the tartar affects the bone, resulting in tooth loss.
- Cavities – Large cavities that exist near your gum line causes weak teeth and infections, leading to broken teeth in the long run. You will have to get these broken teeth repaired, which can become pricey, sometimes very painful.
Smoking and your Gums
Your gums are crucial to your overall oral health. They help protect and hold your smile. As you have learned, if you are a smoker or vaper, you are more likely to have bacterial plaque.
- Gingivitis – The irritation caused due to tartar and plaque build-up from smoking causes gingivitis. When the gums of smokers get infected, they have a challenging time healing as smoking causes decreased oxygen in the bloodstream. Decreased oxygen may contribute negatively to your gum health.
- Gum disease – Smokers have slower wound healing abilities than non-smokers. This means that gingivitis quickly progresses into gum disease. Smokers have a three and a half times higher risk of developing gum disease compared to non-smokers. Gum disease from smoking may cause receding gums and tooth loss.
Smoking and Dental Restorations
Smoking affects the success and lifespan of dental restorations. It includes dental crowns and dental implants.
- Dental restoration health – Smokers have gum recession caused due to gingivitis. Even gum diseases can cause uneven margins on crowns and other restorations.
- Dental implant failure – Research suggests that smokers have a higher failure rate for dental implants. Experts believe that the gums near the implant repeatedly exposed to tobacco smoke can cause implant failure.
- Dental restoration appearance – Smoking dulls the appearance of your crowns, fillings, bonding, and dentures. While porcelain is a highly durable material utilized for crowns and veneers, they are not indestructible. In the long run, they may be stained by tobacco smoke and lose their bright appearance.
The best thing you can do as a smoker for your oral health is to quit smoking. Consult your doctor to join a smoking cessation program. You can work with your dental clinic to learn about how to repair and protect your teeth, gums, and dental restorations from damage caused by smoking.