Smoking and Your Oral Health

Most smokers realize the habit is bad for the body, but your Phoenix cosmetic dentist, Dr. Carol Ford says, “the problem doesn’t stop short of your mouth.” If you are a smoker, regardless of whether you choose cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe, the results are likely to be the same. “While smokers tend to have less white teeth, the main concern isn’t with their teeth, but how smoking affects the foundation – their gums and bone.”

One of the issues a smoker may have with their dental health is discolored teeth. If you’ve ever looked at the dark yellow stain on a cigarette filter, you have a good idea of what is getting into your mouth.  The nicotine and tar you’re smoking leave a sticky film on your teeth, and the resulting yellow and brown stains are very difficult to remove.  That residue clings to your entire mouth, often leaving a smoker with terrible breath.

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Smoking also alters the way your body’s cells behave, and this extends to your mouth. Minor problems may not be able to heal on their own because your ability to heal is compromised. Another result of abnormal cell behavior is that your gums will shrink back from your teeth, leaving them open to invasion by bacteria. Gum Disease and tooth decay develop and the consequence is often tooth loss.

One of the worst problems a cosmetic dentist must treat is the oral cancer that stems from smoking. People who smoke have a much higher risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, and esophagus than their non-smoking counterparts do. Oral cancer may develop very quietly, without any warning signs. It is generally painless, and may not be noticed until it has already spread to other parts of the body. This type of cancer kills thousands of people every year, but is very preventable.

The best way a smoker can improve their oral health and decrease their risk of major issues is to stop or at least cut back on smoking. For those who already have dental damage, your cosmetic dentist Dr. Ford, can help save your smile with a variety of strategies including professional whitening, veneers, dental implants for missing teeth, and other reconstructive methods.

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