We all know smoking is bad for you, and in a number of ways, from cancer to simply depleted energy. But do you really know the effects smoking can have on your dental hygiene in particular? Here are just a few.
Smoking is well known for the yellowing effect it has on teeth. Yellowed teeth can be extremely difficult to whiten, depending on how deep the stains actually are and for how long they have been exposed to the various chemicals found in tobacco products. Exposing your teeth to these chemicals weakens the tooth enamel, the protective layer that cannot be replaced, causing teeth to become vulnerable and allowing stains to become deeply set into teeth.
Because the chemicals in tobacco products weaken the tooth’s protective enamel, teeth become more susceptible to bacteria, acids, and other destructive substances. With no protective layer, these substances can eat away at teeth and eventually cause them to rot right down to the tooth root. This can be extremely painful and can cause teeth to become loose, requiring removal, and even falling out. This rotting can also lead to infection which leads to even larger issues.
The bacteria can quickly destroy gum flesh, causing it to recede and become loose and unhealthy. The gums help keep teeth in place, so when their health is compromised teeth can become loose and potentially fall out. When gum disease progresses it can affect the bones and surrounding flesh, causing them to break down, too. Studies have shown that those who smoke are two times more likely to contract gum disease than those who don’t.
There are toothpastes and mouthwashes available on the market produced specifically for those who use tobacco products, however they are not nearly as effective at treating oral issues brought on by smoking as getting rid of the habit is. These products are generally more harsh and abrasive in an attempt to target destructive bacteria but they have no effect in restoring enamel, reversing tooth rot, root rot, gum rot, or preventing any kind of cancer. It’s important to keep in mind that the only truly effective treatment in restoring the health of a smoker’s’ mouth is to stop smoking.