According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 36.5 million American adults are cigarette smokers. Smoking cigarettes (and using other tobacco products) is one of the worst things you can do for your body’s health, and that includes your teeth and teeth cleaning. Some of the oral health issues tobacco use can cause include:
- Bad breath
- Tooth discoloration
- Plaque and tartar buildup
- Gum disease
- Tooth loss
- Lower success rate with dental implants
- Increased risk of oral cancer
How Does Smoking Lead to These Issues?
Smoking and other tobacco products interfere with the normal functions of gum tissue as well as increase plaque and tartar in your mouth. These issues can impact the blood flow to gums, making it harder for your mouth to heal.
Are Smokeless Tobacco Products Safer?
No! Smokeless tobacco products contain at least 28 chemicals that have been linked to oral cancer, throat cancer, and esophageal cancer. Chewing tobacco also contains higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes making them even more addictive and harder to quit. In addition to more nicotine, sugar is also added to chewing tobacco, which leads to tooth decay.
How to Kick the Habit
There are countless ways to quit smoking but finding the one that works best for you may take some persistence. Here are some common ways people use to quit smoking:
- Cold turkey – stopping completely without outside help
- Behavioral therapy – working with a counselor or friend to find ways not to smoke or work through triggers
- Nicotine replacement therapy – nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, sprays, and more to help curb cravings
- Medication – prescription medications can help cravings and withdrawal symptoms
- Combination of these treatments – combining some of these options may increase your success rate but consult with your doctor is recommended before trying this method
Quitting smoking and tobacco use is one of the best ways to improve your health, your smile, and your teeth cleaning! If you have more questions about how smoking affects your oral health, call our office today!