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How smoking affects dental health

Ad Min - Friday, December 20, 2019

Smoking and its effects are felt not merely by smokers but also by those who are in the smoker’s environment. Smoking related diseases are one of the highest contributors to mortality. One of the main aspects one needs to remember is smoking related diseases can be avoided and prevented. Cancer is one of the main disease affecting people of all ages. Of all the different types of cancer, smoking contributes to 90% of lung cancer and 30% in other types of cancer.

How smoking affects dental health

Smoking has an additive substance called nicotine and this makes the users difficult to stop smoking. Along with nicotine, there are hundreds of chemicals in the smoke that is harmful to the human body. Tobacco smoke is known to have about 70-80 types of cancer causing chemicals. Smoking affects not just one part of the body, it affects all parts of the human body and brings down the health of the person and can also be fatal.

Tooth decay and cavities
Smoking and tobacco products as mentioned earlier contains a lot of chemicals. When smoke is inhaled, these chemicals are taken into the mouth. This mixes with the saliva and effects the teeth. The dental enamel which acts as a protective covering gets eroded. Bacteria can act on the teeth easily. Decay sets in slowly and with each puff the tooth decay progresses. Tooth cavities are also caused due to smoking. The structure of the teeth gets eroded and cavities are formed.

Gum diseases
Gum disease or periodontal disease refers to the infection of the gums. The lining of the teeth is infected in this case. Bacteria gets into the gum lining, this can also be a cause of tooth decay. If bacteria stays in the area, it will pull away from the teeth from the gum lining. A pocket will form and adds on to more infections. The jaw bone can also get affected if the infection is not stopped and smoking is continued regardless of the health concerns. Smoking increases by about 50% of the chance of gum disease.

Plaque and tartar
The smoke has a lot of chemicals in it, this affects the moisture content of the mouth. Saliva production gets hindered. Bacteria can easily stick on to the teeth and gums in this case. Bacteria produce plaque on the teeth and this can also be seen along the gum lining. If not removed, plaque gets hardened and tartar is formed. This substance is so hard that normal and personal cleaning of the teeth is not enough. It requires help from the dentist as it is quite hard and requires special tools. Continued smoking helps in more creation of plaque and tartar.

Immune system
The overall health of a person gets affected due to smoking. Inhaling the smoke continuously is similar to pumping in a lot of harmful chemicals into the body. The risk of respiratory diseases such as bronchitis or pneumonia is increased greatly due to smoking and tobacco products. Antibodies in the blood stream get reduced due to smoking. This makes it easy for disease causing germs to attack. Infections and diseases do not go away easily because there are fewer antibodies to fight against them. The diseases linger longer and bring down the ability of the immune system down. This also invites other diseases into the body- minor conditions like the common cold e.g. does not go away quickly as before.

Cancer
Cancer is caused when cells in the body multiply abnormally and also control other tissues in the body. The main aspect of smoking that causes cancer is the carcinogens that are there in the smoke. These poisons damage the structure and function of the cells. They multiply abnormally and affect the growth of the cells and also that of the organ and cause cancer. Smoking also affects the immune system and the body is not able to fight against the tumours developing in the body.

Loss of taste/discolouration of teeth
Studies have proven that smoking affects the taste buds. It makes the food taste dull and bland. The taste buds in that of smokers were found to be flatter in shape than that of non-smokers. Smoking and its chemicals affect the shape of the taste buds in the mouth. The blood vessels in the mouth are also affected and this can also affect the taste buds. Sensitivity to taste is reduced to a great deal due to smoking. This can also lead to a lack of appetite in smokers. Nicotine in the smoke stains the teeth. Teeth lose their sparkle and acquire a dull and yellow stained tooth. Smoking stains the teeth easily and the also gives out bad breath.

Smoking affects dental health by not just creating stained teeth and dull taste buds, it brings in overall health concerns and especially in dental health. The soft tissues in the mouth, gum lining all get compromised due to smoking. Continued smoking adds on to the damage done in the mouth. It also invites other diseases, due to the damage to the immune system. Recovery gets delayed and this affects the complete health of the body.

Many teenagers get into the habit of smoking to appear ‘cool’ or due to peer pressure. Children do not understand how health deteriorates due to smoking. It is important to teach children about the effects of smoking on oral health and overall health. Dental consultations are especially important in the case of smokers as there are a lot of dental diseases that are caused due to smoking.

Keeping the mouth and teeth clean and free from diseases is very important, hence the added importance of quitting smoking. Smoking is breathing in different kinds of chemicals into the body for the perceived feel good effect it provides. Quitting smoking helps to build the oral and overall health of a person.

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