In 1966, Congress passed a law forcing tobacco companies to place a warning label on every pack of cigarettes. Since then, we’ve learned a lot more about how smoking can damage your health. It causes heart disease, lung disease, and several types of cancer.  

And thanks to the efforts of organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association, most Americans are now well-informed about the major health risks associated with smoking cigarettes.  But how many people realize that smoking cigarettes and cigars can also devastate your smile?

Smoking and Oral Health

That’s right, smoking causes serious harm to your mouth, throat, and gums and it can even make your teeth fall out. There are numerous ways that smoking will wreak havoc on the dental region.  It causes all of the following negative conditions:

  • Oral cancer
  • Diminishes jawbone density
  • Reduces your senses of taste and smell
  • Stains your teeth
  • Dry mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Extends timeline for recovery from oral surgery
  • Gum disease
  • Increased levels of plaque and tartar buildup
  • Teeth fall out

Smoking and Gum Disease

Gum disease is a major threat to your smile which afflicts million of Americans. In fact, over 47 percent of Americans over the age of 30 suffer from this nasty infection. Gum disease is a real menace to your smile.  It makes your gums sore and swollen, and if left untreated, it can result in the loss of one or more teeth.

If you don’t want to get gum disease, brush and floss every day, visit your dentist for regular checkups, and don’t smoke. Smokers are 64.2 percent more likely to contract gum disease than non-smokers.

Gum disease is caused by the bacteria that feeds on the plaque and tartar which grow on your teeth.  Smoking inhibits your body from fighting gum disease in two ways: First, it causes dry mouth. Saliva helps fight plaque and rinse it from your teeth. Second, smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream.  And oxygenated blood helps your body fight off gum disease.  

Cigars are Not Safe

Many people assume that cigars are harmless.  This might be because people don’t inhale as much when smoking cigars as they do with cigarettes. But cigars cause several negative issues in the dental region, including:

  • Oral cancer
  • Stained teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Bad breath

Help for People Who are Trying to Quit

It’s not easy to quit smoking. But please don’t stop trying to quit smoking just because you’ve been unsuccessful in the past. The stakes are too high! And remember, you’re not alone. There are a lot of people out there who can help.  For example, the American Lung Association offers resources for people who want to stop smoking.  Good luck!  We’re rooting for you.

Visit Dr. Winter for a Checkup

If you don’t smoke, please don’t start. It just isn’t worth it.  Another great thing you can do for your health is to call our office and schedule your next checkup with Dr. Winter.  See you soon.