Monday, March 28, 2022
Many people associate smoking with bad respiratory health, certain cancers, and heart disease. However, smoking can also be extremely detrimental to a person's oral health. Smoking regularly can lead to a range of unpleasant dental issues, affecting the mouth, teeth and gums. Here we take a look at some of the ways that smoking might be affecting your oral health.
The nicotine and tar from smoking a cigarette causes a person's teeth to discolour, and turn a yellow colour. It doesn't take long for this to happen, and those who have been smoking for years can also experience their teeth turning darker, to a shade of brown.
Along with tooth discolouration, smoking also causes another obvious side effect - bad breath. Now while this might not be considered an immediate health concern, many find it to be unpleasant. The chemicals from smoking a cigarette can remain in the mouth even after the cigarette is finished, which contributes to the taste and odour left.
Gum disease is a great concern for smokers, as it can lead to some serious health issues within the mouth. Smoking, and the tobacco from smoking, can cause the gums to become infected much more easily, and cause the normal function of gum tissue cells to become interfered with. This is because smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream which means that infected gums cannot heal.
This gum disease can cause the tissue around your teeth to be affected, and if damaged too much without proper healing, can cause tooth loss in later years.
Oral cancer, more commonly known as mouth cancer, is caused by tumours developing in the saliva glands, tonsils, or the pharynx (where the throat connects to the windpipe). While it can be caused by a range of things, an increased risk of developing it is associated with smoking and drinking alcohol. According to the NHS, it is now the sixth most common cancer in the world, with 6,800 people diagnosed with it in the UK every year.
If you notice mouth ulcers that don't heal within weeks, lumps in the mouth or neck that don't go away, or unexplained looseness of teeth, then speak to your GP or dentist.
If you need help or advice there are many places you can go to for support, including your free, local Stop Smoking Service. Also, Oxford Online Pharmacy offers a stop smoking service, which you can find here.