According to Smokefree New Zealand, 17 per cent of people are smokers. The habit leads to problems such as heart disease and cancer, causing 5,000 deaths every year. On top of these health concerns, smoking has a significant impact on your oral health.
Let's take a closer look at what smoking is doing to your teeth.
Smokers have twice the risk of gum disease as nonsmokers.
Smoking and your oral health
Smoking can lead to gum disease. In fact, smokers have twice the risk of gum disease as nonsmokers, reports the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The more and the longer you smoke, the greater your risk of gum disease.
The reason smokers are at risk is because they have more tartar, the hardened form of plaque, than nonsmokers. Although researchers have yet to identify exactly what smoking does to your gums, factors such as decreased flow of saliva, an impaired healing ability and receding gums all contribute to periodontal disease and eventually even tooth loss.
The nicotine and tar in tobacco can stain your teeth, giving them a yellow tinge. Over time, the stains can build up until teeth appear almost brown in colour.
Although yellowed teeth is an aesthetic concern, it can cause problems with confidence and may need to be addressed with cosmetic dentistry.
Smoking and oral cancer
Cigarettes can cause mouth cancer, warns the Oral Health Foundation of New Zealand. This disease can affect your cheeks, tongue, throat and lips and can be fatal if left untreated. Quitting smoking is an important step in making sure your mouth stays healthy, along with eating well and cutting down on your alcohol intake.
If you are a smoker and are unable to quit, you should make sure you see us regularly for dental check ups, to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy. We will be able to identify any problems and catch them before they get any worse. We can also offer ongoing support for smokers wishing to quit, helping you to enjoy all the benefits of a smokefree life.
To find out more about how we can help you, get in touch with us today.