Smoking is not only deadly, but also harmful to your teeth and gums. Smoking is also the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The effects in the mouth are numerous and include the following:
- Reduced blood flow and nutrients to the gums which can lead to gum and bone disease.
- Decreased saliva flow. Saliva helps to wash away harmful sugars and bacteria from your teeth.
- Altered appearance of your teeth through discoloration that nicotine and tar leave behind.
- Bad breath.
- Loss of taste due to damaged taste buds.
Chief of oral problems is oral cancer. Almost 1 person dies per hour due to oral cancer, and if throat cancer is included that number doubles.
Cigars are not a safe alternative as they possess the same deadly toxins as cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes are not proven to be safer either. The place in your mouth you position smokeless tobacco is 50 times more likely to develop oral cancer. Little research exists on e-cigarettes but the nicotine inhalation is believed to cause bacterial accumulation, dry mouth, and tooth decay.
Nicotine is very addictive so quitting can be difficult. Nicotine replacement therapies exist as well as prescription medications. Support groups are also available. Quitting at any age will increase your health so it is never too late to stop. For more information on this and other oral health topics visit, www.KnowYourTeeth.com.