When you snuff out that cigarette and your smoking habit for good, you are doing your teeth and smile a big favor. Cigarette smoking has many negative effects on dental and oral health, including your teeth and the condition of your gums.
Compare the smiles of a smoker and a non-smoker and you can notice an immediate difference. The non-smoker’s smile shows white bright healthy teeth with no staining or residue. The gums are pink and healthy looking. A smoker’s smile, on the other hand, shows teeth that are yellowed or stained and often pulled away from the gumline. The teeth of a smoker’s smile looks aged beyond actual chronological years.
Smoking affects your teeth by discoloring their natural white state. Because less saliva is produced in the mouth of smokers, and saliva is a natural mouth and teeth cleanser, your teeth become duller and less bright thanks to smoking. You become more susceptible to cavities. Smokers tend to have an increased amount of placque accumulating on their teeth, a gummy white substance that attracts bacteria and leaves the teeth looking dull.
The major ingredients found in cigarettes, nicotine and tar, eventually leave deposits on the teeth, creating unsightly brown spots and dark tar residue. Smoking also restricts the amount of blood flow that reaches the gums, in addition to reducing the amount of vitamin C and other nutrients that the gums need to remain healthy. Chronic smoking causes the roof of the mouth to turn red from inflammation, in addition to causing the problem of ongoing bad breath. Many smokers pop breath mints that leave a sugary residue on teeth, inviting tooth decay.
Smoking’s impact on the gums and their ability to securely anchor the teeth can eventually lead to the loss of teeth, bleeding gums and periodontal disease. Research has found that smokers are six times more likely than non-smokers to suffer ongoing gum disease. Smoking interferes with the body’s immune system and lessens the body’s overall ability to fight disease. Once even the smallest of gum infections sets in, the teeth start to pull away from the gums, eventually loosen, crack, and ultimately die or fall out.
Even when a smoker seeks treatment for gum disease and loosened teeth, healing may be delayed because of the weakened immune system. Dentists reports a lower success rate among smokers who attempt dental implants. Smokers also have a higher risk of developing white patches in the mouth, a condition called leukoplakia, in addition to having a higher risk of developing oral cancer.
Smokers who make the commitment to quit on well on their way to recovering whiter, brighter teeth and a healthier smile.