12 Feb Butting Out for a Healthy Smile
Smoking is one habit that I always tell patients to kick when they walk into my office. While it is becoming less prevalent here in Ontario, I still do see many patients who can’t quit their favourite bad habit. For the 17.4% of the people in the province who continue to choose cigarettes as their vice of choice, you’d be doing your mouth a huge favour by kicking the habit. The one thing that does become clear is that, while the damage smoking does to internal organs is relatively unseen without x-rays and enhanced testing, your teeth wear each decision to puff away.
Staining is the most obvious, albeit the least worrisome, effect of the use of tobacco. Discolouration is almost guaranteed for smokers, as the inhaling of smoke leaves its initial mark on your oral health. Halitosis (bad breath) can also be a problem as the smoke itself, and the reduction in saliva caused by it, leaves the door open for bacteria to build in dry mouth.
While no one wants bad breath or yellow teeth, it’s the larger effects of smoking that can really wreak havoc. The normal function of gum tissue is reduced and can begin the process of long term gum disease while the bones that hold your teeth in place can become weakened and make your teeth painful and loose. The problem then becomes the inability to fix issues once they have occurred. Due to the previously mentioned issues, fitting an implant can be difficult as the gum areas may be too weak to hold the implant after a tooth is lost.
Butting out is your best option to fighting the effects of smoking on your oral health. If you’re a youngster reading this and have yet to try smoking, please don’t start. That’s the best way to ensure the problems above never become problems in your life. If you are a smoker, studies have proven that your gums can begin to heal rapidly once you decide to quit. As a smoker, your oral health is always at risk and if you’ve been doing so for a lengthy period of time you can really reverse years of neglect after making the decision to quit.
While the addictive effects can be difficult to deal with, there are many cessation products and services available to you. It’s a decision that will build your confidence and leave you with something to smile about for the rest of your life. A smile that will also be healthier with each day that passes after you quit.