However, many of us still do not fully realise the extreme damage that smoking causes to the place it enters our bodies; our mouths. As part of Stoptober the UK's leading oral health charity, the Oral Health Foundation, have taken a look at seven problems that you may not know smoking causes for the health of your mouth, and how you can avoid it by quitting.
1. Yellow teeth
The nicotine and tar in tobacco can make your teeth yellow in a very short time. Heavy smokers often complain that their teeth are almost brown after prolonged years of smoking. But this is just the very start of your worries.
2. Gum disease and tooth loss
Smoking affects how your teeth connect to your gums and bone in your jaw, meaning smokers are more likely to suffer from gum disease. It severely affects the tissue in the gums which make them far more vulnerable to infection. It can also lead to bone loss in the jaw and disintegrates the bone that holds your teeth in place, when weakened this leads to a hugely increased chance of tooth loss.
3. Bacterial growth
Smoking results in an increased build-up of bacteria, or plaque, on the teeth which can lead to decay and cavities. Plaque caused by smoking can also affect tissues supporting the roots of the teeth beneath the gum and weakens the bone supporting the tooth.
4. Scaly teeth
When plaque stays on the teeth for a long time due to not cleaning your teeth properly it hardens into a scaly like substance called tartar. Smokers are more likely to suffer from tartar which often leads to receding gums and gum disease.
5. Mouth cancer
There are thousands of chemicals contained in every single cigarette, we all know smoking causes cancer but have you ever thought about how when smoking they all enter the body through the mouth. Smoking transforms saliva into a deadly cocktail that damages cells in the mouth and can turn them cancerous. Smoking causes roughly two in every three mouth cancer cases.
6. Smelly breath
‘Smokers breath' is often one of the first problems you develop when smoking. Cigarettes leave smoke particles lingering in the mouth, throat and lungs long after you have finished your cigarette.
7. Spotty mouth
Smoking often causes a white or grey patch to develop on the tongue, cheek, or the floor of the mouth, known as leukoplakia. This happens due to the constant irritation of the soft tissues inside the mouth due to smoking.
The best way to but a stop to any of these problems is to kick the habit and try to quit smoking today. If you are a smoker you should also follow the three basic rule of good oral health.
- Brush your teeth last thing at night and at one other time of the day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Cut down on sugary foods and drinks.
- Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
If you notice any changes inside your mouth, please speak with your dentist immediately. Your dentist may also be able to provide you with smoking cessation advice.