1. Chronic Bad Breath
“Halitosis,” or chronic bad breath, is one of the most noticeable and frequently mentioned results of habitual smoking. While poor dental hygiene, tooth decay, and alcohol consumption can also lead to halitosis, “smoker’s breath” cannot be cured unless you quit smoking. Mouth washes and breath mints can only cover it up temporarily.
2. Deeply Stained Teeth
Smoking tobacco products also gradually stain your teeth with nicotine and tar. At first, the stains will be yellowish in coloration, but the heaviest smokers may even see browned teeth after many years of continuing the habit. Once you quit smoking, professional teeth whitening and dental veneers can remove or cover over deep stains that won’t come out by ordinary brushing.
3. Periodontal Disease
While halitosis and yellowed teeth may be embarrassing, a much more serious effect of smoking is the heightened risk it brings of developing periodontal disease. The reason is that smoke increases the production of bacterial plaque, which then clings to the gums and can deteriorate them and cause an infection. Smoking also reduces oxygen in the bloodstream, which compounds the problem by making it take longer for damaged gum tissue to heal.
Ultimately, poor oral health and periodontal disease due to smoking can lead to tooth loss. The price to pay for smoking is clearly too high, but a good periodontist can provide you with treatment for all forms of gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis in all their stages); and can also install dental implants to replace missing teeth.
4. Oral Cancer
Not only can smoking cause lung cancer and throat cancer, but it can also result in mouth (oral) cancer. Thousands die every year from oral cancer stemming from longtime tobacco use, yet, many do not even realize that this danger exists. Other factors, like heavy consumption of alcohol, genetics, and being male and/or over the age of 55 increase the risk of oral cancer. But 80% of those who develop cancer of the mouth, gums, cheeks, or inner lips do so because of use of tobacco products.
How to Correct the Damage Done By Smoking
To a degree, there is no way to “turn back the clock” and undo what smoking has done to your oral health. But there is also much that can be done by a well trained periodontist. Halitosis may disappear soon after you kick the smoking habit, and there are relatively easy cosmetic fixes to stained teeth. The best solution to tooth loss is generally dental implants, though dentures or bridges may sometimes be in order. Periodontal disease, whether caused by smoking or something else, can be treated via root planing and scaling, gum flap surgery, and other methods, depending on its severity.
For treatment to combat the effects of smoking on your oral health, in Ormond Beach, FL, and throughout Volusia and Flagler Counties, contact Dr. Raymond A. Kenzik to learn what solutions will be best for you.