How Smoking Affects Oral Health

By John Rink DDS on June 21, 2015

A man with a smile affected by smokingHere at the Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry, we believe that good dental care emphasizes a mix of aesthetic enhancement, general and preventative care, and various means of enhancing total wellness. When a major dental problem occurs, restorative dentistry can help address problems with the teeth and gums.

One of the most common causes of major dental health and general wellness issues is the use of tobacco products. Let's go over the various oral health issues related to smoking, which should give you many great reasons to quit.

Smoking Can Give You Chronic Bad Breath

When you smoke, you will wind up with a bad case of bad breath. Sure, halitosis is not the most serious dental problem a person will face because of smoking, but it's just one of many reasons why you should think again when it comes this this particular bad habit.

Smoking Makes Your Teeth Discolored and Yellow

In addition to causing your breath to be unpleasant, smoking will also lead to the yellowing and discoloration of your teeth. For people who have smoked for a long time, the negative cosmetic effects on the smile can be extreme, leading to self-consciousness when a person smiles, laughs, or speaks.

Smoking Can Increase Risk of Periodontal Disease and Gum Recession

Smoking has been linked to a number of problems with periodontal health. For instance, smokers are more likely to suffer from gum disease, which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. There are three levels of gum disease:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Advanced periodontitis

In addition to gum disease, it's possible for a person to suffer from gum recession, which means the loss of soft tissue along the gumline. This leads to issues with tooth sensitivity and can make major tooth decay and tooth loss more likely.

Smoking Makes Tooth Decay Worse

Smoking is linked to increased issues with plaque and tartar formation, which can make tooth decay much worse. Given the ways that the hard and soft tissues of the mouth are affected, it should be clear why quitting smoking is crucial for lasting and long-term dental health.

Smoking Is Linked to Oral Cancers

On top of causing major issues with your dental health, smoking is also linked to many cases of oral cancer. Early symptoms might include as sores, lesions, and persistent dry mouth. This is perhaps the most compelling reason to avoid the use of tobacco products.

Treatment Options for the Negative Effects of Smoking

Dentists have a number of restorative and cosmetic treatments available when it comes to addressing the problems caused by smoking.

  • To treat tooth discoloration and stains, teeth whitening treatment may be performed to bleach the yellowed enamel. For deeper discoloration that does not respond to teeth whitening, the use of porcelain veneers may be considered.

  • For gum disease, dentists will first work to get the infection of the gum tissue under control, which can be done using a combination of medicated/antiseptic rinses as well as antibiotics. The severity of the gum disease will determine the ideal treatment approach.

  • When it comes to gum recession, soft tissue augmentation is the most common solution. This uses grafts of donor tissue or artificial gum tissue to rebuild the gumline.

  • For any issues related to oral cancer, it's important to consult your general practitioner for treatment. Dentists can help in early detection of oral cancer during routine dental visits, which is why you visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups.

Schedule a Consultation for General Dental Care

For more information about your options for improving your dental health and wellness, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The entire team at the Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry looks forward to your visit and helping you have a healthy and beautiful smile.

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