Truth be told, we barely notice our mouths. We might talk, eat, taste, and smile with them, but we don’t pay too much attention to our teeth or lips. Even after brushing, we forget about them in less than 30 seconds.
This is the reason why it’s easy to neglect how smoking severely affects our oral health.
Smoking and oral health are related. After you take a hit, the hazardous smoke touches the roof of your mouth, your tongue, and your teeth.
This sets off a chain of possibly irreversible events if you’ve smoked cigarettes for years. You might already have had gingivitis or felt you had a very slow recovery from a recent tooth surgery.
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In any case, smoking will raise your risk of health issues, such as developing mouth cancer, and this risk will increase as you age and still keep smoking.
There are plenty of ways cigarette smoking affects your oral health. We’ll take a look at each of them in today’s article.
Increases the Risk of Mouth Cancer
Smoking does kill, and the higher risk of contracting mouth cancer in smokers is proof of it.
Survivors of mouth cancer who continued smoking saw a second incident after a few years. These survivors still continued smoking after their life-threatening encounter with cancer, showing the strong grip of smoking addiction.
There are many dangerous chemicals in a cigarette, and these are some of the major causes of mouth cancer. It is a combination of carcinogens, harmful free radicals, cadmium (which is a chemical you find in batteries), and other hazardous chemicals.
We’re pretty sure smokers don’t want to consume battery chemicals, but they do with every cigarette hit.
A smoker’s breath can already be pretty terrible, but gingivitis takes it to the next level.
Increased plaque levels in a smoker’s mouth can cause gum disease or gingivitis. Due to the slow immune system response in smokers, gum infection occurs, with immensely bad breath as a major side effect.
Gingivitis also causes your gums to swell and feel tender, which are signs of weakening and thinning. Smokers with gingivitis may also notice their gums often bleed while lightly brushing and flossing.
By stopping smoking, you can restore your gums within a year or less.
Premature Tooth Loss
Gingivitis is already bad enough at its mildest – imagine if you get a severe case of it. Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gingivitis, and it’s the one causing premature tooth loss in many smokers.
Periodontitis can pull gums away and reduce your jawbone’s density, which can loosen teeth to the point they simply fall out.
Untreated gingivitis, or its ineffective treatment due to smoking, will continue to weaken the gums and cause infections, leading to periodontitis. If you feel your teeth are looser than usual and chewing has become too painful, you may have developed this condition.
However, even if smokers don’t have gingivitis or periodontitis, they’re still at a high risk of losing their teeth prematurely.
After quitting smoking, your improved immune system response after successfully quitting smoking can decrease incidents of gingivitis, tooth loss, and even tooth decay.
Frequent Throat Infections
Daily smokers shouldn’t be surprised they’re always down with the flu, have sore throats, or have a smoker’s cough.
Most smokers experience throat infections that happen almost every other day. Their weakened and slowed immune system, caused by chemicals in cigarette smoke, make it easy for bacteria to thrive.
Studies have discovered that the population and variety of bacteria present in a smoker’s throat are much higher compared to a non-smoker. This means smokers are at a higher risk of contracting different kinds of throat infections, ranging from mild to severe.
Once you quit smoking, you’ll feel great relief from throat problems.
Delayed Tooth Extraction/Oral Surgery Recovery
If you’re wondering why your recent oral extraction or dental implant recovery is slow, it’s due to cigarette smoking. Aside from slow recovery, you probably noticed that you felt much more pain during the operation than what non-smoking peers had mentioned.
Smokers experience much higher pain levels and slower recovery during surgery than those who didn’t consume cigarettes.
Cigarette smoking has also been linked to slowing the blood-clotting process, the body’s capability to heal its wounds, including surgery. A study shows that platelets, which play a key role in healing, are much lower in smokers than non-smokers.
You can make your next dental implant or operation feel much better and recover faster if you quit smoking today.
Smoking and oral health are directly linked, as certain as a smoker’s mouth touching the cigarette’s filter. Any smoker who wants to reduce their cancer risk or keep all their teeth until they grow old should consider quitting the habit.
Kicking out smoking from your life has many benefits, such as having better mental health and feeling physically better. In fact, there are so many good things that can happen to any ex-smoker after six days of quitting smoking.
If you’re reading this article because you want to enjoy these benefits but need help quitting, you’re in the right place.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.