Smoking is a dangerous habit that needs to stop. That's a message most smokers have already received loud and clear. The American Dental Association reveals that tobacco use is among the top causes of preventable illness in the United States.
What you may not know is that smoking can be extremely detrimental to your dental health. Consider these serious and undeniable reasons to stop smoking today for your dental health. Spoiler alert: Quitting smoking will be good for your overall health, too!
Reason #1: Smoking Often Leads to Oral Cancer
Smoking is tied to around 28.6 percent of deaths in the country, according to The New York Times. The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that 50 people will die because of tobacco in the next hour. Few people want to even think about the c word, but cancer is a growing health problem in the United States. About 80 percent of people who have oral cancer are tobacco users.
Tobacco smoke has more than 7,000 different chemicals. According to the National Cancer Institute, at least 70 of these chemicals can cause cancer. Among the chemicals are formaldehyde (used for embalming people after death), acetone (the big ingredient in nail polish remover) and lead.
Reason #2: Smoking Sometimes Causes Gingival Recession
Gingival recession, which is more commonly referred to as receding gums, can be a serious problem. This is often caused by smoking. When gum recession occurs, the roots of the tooth are exposed. Not only is this upsetting from an aesthetic perspective, but receding gums also put you at an increased risk for root and tooth decay.
When you first notice gum recession, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. Although smoking is a common cause, poor dental hygiene and aggressive brushing can also cause receding gums. Treating the gingival recession may involve quitting smoking and addressing other bad oral care habits.
Reason #3: Smoking Makes Your Breath Foul
The apt, colloquial term for bad breath among smokers is Smoker's Breath. Nobody wants to walk around with bad breath. This can lead to negative consequences in nearly every area of your life.
Halitosis, the official term for having consistently stinky breath, happens for a variety of reasons. For one thing, smoke particles are left behind in the lungs and throat. Tobacco use can also dry out your palate, which can contribute to a thriving bacteria environment in your mouth. The unpleasant smell can linger, especially if you smoke multiple times per day.
Reason #4: Smoking Often Contributes to Gum Disease
Gum disease, often called periodontal disease, is an infection that can lead to tooth loss if you don't treat the condition. Gum disease is referred to as gingivitis in its early stages, and it's common among smokers. That's partly because bacteria quickly builds up on the teeth and gums of smokers.
Gum disease is also common among smokers because smoking often compromises the immune system. Also, since the body will have a harder time fighting off infections when you smoke, fighting the disease is hard. Unless you quit smoking, healing from gum disease is difficult even if you follow a treatment plan.
Reason #5: Smoking Can Decrease Your Motivation
Smoking can cause so many health issues that it can cause you to feel less motivated to sustain daily dental care habits essential for healthy teeth and gums. If you find yourself shrugging off brushing your teeth because you feel you've already damaged your teeth, that's a big red flag.
You are not helpless in the fight against smoking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends making a quit plan. Medication and counseling have proved to be effective tools to help you quit smoking. In addition, make an appointment today with P.A. Daniel Jr., D.D.S. for a dental exam to start taking better care of your oral health.