You want to keep your smile as healthy as possible. Tobacco, in all of its various forms, is one of the worst things for your mouth. Drs. Maria Burmaster and Valerie Hemphill of Barataria Dental, a dentist office in New Orleans, LA, explain what tobacco can do to your oral health.
Your Teeth Stain and Wear Down Faster
The tar and nicotine in your tobacco products make your teeth turn a yellow-brown color the more you consume them. Depending on how deep the stains are, traditional teeth whitening may not be enough to cure them. The yellowing can happen in a very short amount of time, and longtime smokers are those who tend to find their teeth growing brown.
Cigars and chewing tobacco contain tiny particles. These particles are abrasive to your teeth, and you may not even notice. When you consume tobacco with either of these methods, those particles mix with your saliva and make an abrasive paste that wears your teeth down over time. You may not notice it until it becomes a problem that needs to be taken care of.
You’re at a Higher Risk for Cancer and Other Diseases
No matter which way you consume tobacco, it contains cancer-causing chemicals. With chewing tobacco, juice is made when it mixes with your saliva. This can lead to cancer down throughout the digestive system, in your voicebox or esophagus for instance. Smoking is most commonly linked with lung cancer due to smoke inhalation.
Tobacco overall makes you more likely to get sick. It lowers your ability to fight off infections, so you’re even at risk for getting something like the flu or common cold more. You have more of a chance for small infections to turn into something big and harmful, like sepsis.
Smoking also makes you twice as lucky to get gum disease. Chewing tobacco can cause irritation to your gums, leading to an increased gum disease risk as well. Because sugar is often added for flavoring in chewing tobacco, you’re at a higher risk for tooth decay as well.
Gum Disease Can Be Harder to Fight
Not only are you more likely to get gum disease, but you’ll also have more trouble than a normal person to fight it off. Your immune system is unable to do its job as well as it should when you’re a smoker. Smoking can also minimize the growth of blood vessels. If you need to get oral surgery or treatment for your gum disease, you’ll take a longer time to heal due to this.
You Have Fewer Dental Treatment Options
Because of the reduced blood flow, as well as a higher rate of bacteria and inflammation, it can be difficult to replace missing teeth in the way you want. For example, dental implants require your oral health to be good and a significant amount of jawbone to support the implants. Smoking can make it hard for you to meet these criteria.
Your Dentist Office in New Orleans, Louisiana
Make sure you’re getting frequent dental checkups to make sure the impacts of tobacco don’t ruin your smile. Call us or schedule an appointment online.