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It’s World No Tobacco Day today! Your teeth and your smile make a great impression on people. While the majority of people are aware that smoking is detrimental to their health, it is equally harmful to your dental health too. Smoking is capable of causing many different medical issues, some of which can lead to life-threatening diseases. It is a leading cause of preventable death and diseases and some serious health conditions. However, a significant number of people are unaware of the fact that tobacco harms your teeth, gums, and mouth very poorly.
Taking World No Tobacco Day as a chance to raise awareness around the effects of smoking or chewing tobacco on your teeth, Health Shots spoke to Dr Namrata Rupani, Founder & CEO, Capture Life Dental Care.
People who smoke, typically have a bad breath condition which is referred to as ‘smoker’s breath’. It is a musty odour that is produced by cigarette smoke which is present in their throat and lungs after they have stopped smoking. In addition to tobacco, a cigarette contains a slew of other chemicals, some of which are extremely harmful and contribute to breathing odors. Smoking leaves these chemical compounds in your mouth, which when combined with saliva, can result in an unpleasant smell coming from your mouth. It is quite difficult to get rid of the smell as almost all tobacco products cause bad breath, but quitting can help you eliminate the odor.
“People who smoke have more dental plaque. Gum disease progresses more rapidly than those who do not smoke. Tobacco harms your teeth by damaging the gums because it depletes the blood’s oxygen supply, preventing the infected gums from healing. Tobacco products can disrupt the normal function of gum tissue cells. It makes your gums vulnerable, making them red, swollen, and bleeding easily,” says Dr Rupani.
Years of smoking leave teeth with difficult-to-remove tobacco stains. The stains penetrate the enamel and sometimes the dentin. Tobacco products contain a wide variety of chemicals, including nicotine and tar, both of which are major sources of discoloration. These chemicals leave stains on the surfaces of teeth and one will need to resort to teeth whitening methods.
According to Dr Rupani, “Gum disease is one of the most common causes of tooth loss, and smoking is a major factor that contributes to the development of the disease. Chronic smokers are more likely to experience rapid advancement of gum disease. As a consequence of this, smokers typically not only end up losing their teeth, but the success rate of dental implant procedures is lower for smokers than it is for non-smokers.”
Chewing tobacco is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer in the cheeks, gums, and lips. Tobacco products contain cancer-causing chemicals called carcinogenic which damage the DNA of a person. Mouth cancer can also develop in the area of the mouth where the tobacco is held. Leukoplakia is a whitish patch that develops in the mouth or throat from smokeless tobacco causing oral cancer.
It has been demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that tobacco harms your teeth and its use is detrimental to one’s oral health. The best way to maintain your oral health is to quit smoking as it does more damage to your teeth just like your internal organs.
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