How Quitting Smoking Can Improve Dental Health
Posted by Dr. Thomas Flavin Jan 11, 2022
Smoking cigarettes causes a number of dental and oral problems. It may also lead to tooth loss. Quitting smoking, on the other hand, can improve your oral health.
Smoking affects your oral health in two major ways:
- Tobacco use is associated with a higher risk of developing oral cancer, which is one of the most common cancers in the world. Oral cancer can be fatal if it goes undetected through regular screenings. However, when caught early, it is highly treatable. Studies suggest a link between heavy tobacco use and an increased risk of developing oral cancer.
- Cigarettes contain chemicals and toxins that can damage tooth enamel and make your gums more prone to infections. Also, these chemicals increase your risk of developing gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss. Furthermore, people who smoke or use chewing tobacco are more likely to have teeth that are stained from nicotine stains. Smokers also have a higher rate of tooth decay than nonsmokers because tobacco products inhibit your body’s ability to fight bacteria in the mouth and reduce your saliva production, which is the first line of defense against tooth decay. By not producing enough saliva, smokers are at a greater risk for cavities and other oral diseases.
If you are a smoker and would like to improve your dental health, quitting tobacco is one of the best things you can do. Work with your dentist to develop a plan to quit so that you can enjoy better oral health in the future!
Advantages of Quitting Smoking for Oral Health
There are a variety of reasons why it is better not to smoke, including its effect on your oral health. For longer-lasting results, it is in your best interest to quit smoking altogether, not just cut back on your cigarettes each day. When you quit entirely, your mouth will heal and improve much more quickly than if you cut back on your daily cigarette usage. In addition to improving your oral health, it will improve your overall well-being as well.
While quitting can be difficult, the benefits definitely outweigh the temporary difficulty you may experience. Here are a few important ways to quit for better oral health:
- Put an end to snacking and drinking beverages that stain your teeth. Tobacco products have stains of their own which leave yellow and brown marks around the teeth. These stains are very difficult to remove, even with a professional cleaning. If you do consume coffee, tea, or red wine, use a straw or a rinse with water to remove it immediately from your teeth.
- Practice good oral hygiene at home. Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss at least once per day to keep your smile looking its best. Adding a mouthwash with fluoride into your routine is also helpful because it will help to strengthen enamel and prevent cavities. Additionally, you should visit your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and professional cleaning. This will keep your teeth and gums healthy in between visits.
- Talk to your dentist about smoking cessation medications or treatments to help you kick the habit for good. There are a number of different options available to help you get through the difficult withdrawal symptoms so that you can give up tobacco at your own pace and comfort level.
To learn more, contact Healthy Smiles of Saint Louis at 4224 Watson Rd, St. Louis, MO 63109, or call (314) 832-1366.