Smoking and Oral Health and Hygiene

Smoking and Oral Health and Hygiene
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By Naseer Bhat

I will be shearing with you the effects of smoking on the oral health. You might ALL be knowing about the adverse effects caused by smoking on the respiratory system but few will be knowing about what it causes to oral tissues. So please do read it and don’t compromise with your health as there is a wise saying that “mouth is the index of body” If you will keep your mouth healthy your body will automatically be healthy.
Everyone of you will be aware of the fact that smoking causes lung cancer and despite this deadly disease smoking may result in problems like lung emphysema, worsen asthma symptoms , may cause cardio-pulmonary diseases, and some chronic lung problems. Most smokers are aware of these adverse effects. Smoking may result in other adverse effects to your oral tissues; this includes it decreases the blood flow of your oral orifice and also turns as breeding ground for the bacteria . Smoking also gives you bad breath (oral malador) and not only this but smoking also increases the risk of oral cancer.
Now let us explore what smoking does to our oral tissues.
Does it effect our teeth?
Yes, of course, smoking does affect effect our teeth in a very bad manner and the damage is very much extensive. Your dentist can repair the damage caused because of smoking but why should we damage our own health?
Smoking results in the decreased blood flow to the oral tissues which , in turn, results in the decreased ability of a person to fight the bacteria in the oral tissues resulting a very high colonization of the bacteria over your teeth. By smoking , you short-circuit your body’s immune system resulting in the loss of ability to fight the bacteria of your mouth that in turn results in the deposition of calculus that gives a yellowish hue to your teeth and even results in loosening of your teeth. Smoking also delays healing of oral wounds because of decreased blood flow.
The tartar that gets deposited on the surface of oral tissues also decreases the blood supply to a very significant extent. And, other forms of non-smoking tobacco like chewing form also has an adverse effect on your oral health. Even some of the companies use sugar in the chewing form of tobacco and keeping that for a longer time in your mouth results in the pre-disposition of the oral diseases.
How bad is smoking for your teeth?
Smoking cigarettes not only damages your teeth but it may destroy your teeth. I am sharing with you some alarming statistics from the centre for disease control and prevention . So here it is:
● 16% of smokers have poor dental health that is four times to that of non-smokers;
● smokers have been found not visiting the dental clinic for checkup than non-smokers;
● more than a 3rd smoker is having 3 major dental issues;
● female smokers loose 1.5 teeth every 10 years and male smoker loose 2.9 every 10 year;
● 64.5% smokers are likely to develop gingival (gum) diseases;
● 40% of all the periodontal diseases in USA are attributed to smoking.
Most o smokers grip cigarettes with their lips and teeth hence come in direct contact with the toxins you inhale when you take a drag. The serious problems caused to the teeth are as:
●yellow teeth;
●bleeding gums;
●deposition of calculus;
●tooth decay;
●dry mouth (xerostomia);
These symptoms lead to damage of enamel , greater need for root canal and even loss of tooth, sometimes. Smoking, thus causes greater damage to the hard and stop tissue of the oral cavity mere to cosmetic damage.
What does Smoking do to your gums?
Smoking has far more worse effects on your gums than on teeth. As the tartar (byproduct of smoke) gets deposited in your oral cavity,it accounts to the dryness of your mouth after you smoke. The tartar build up decreases your salivary flow. Nicotine being the most adverse by-product of smoke has a vaso-constructive effects hence resulting in decreased blood flow to the oral tissues mainly your gums. You may observe following symptoms after smoking:
Tenderness on chewing;
Red and swollen gums;
Foul breath i.e. halitosis;
Loosening of teeth;
Bleeding on brushing;
Colour changes in gingiva i.e blackning of gums;
Receding gum line.
The above mentioned symptoms are precursors for the periodontal diseases and if any of you have noticed any of the above mentioned symptoms kindly do visit your family dentist. Depending upon the type and severity of the symptom s, the dentist will treat you by pharmaceutical treatment or by surgical procedures. Doxycycline gel , anti-biotic mouth-wash and oral antibiotics are usually prescribed.
In addition to the adverse effects caused to the teeth and gingiva smoking may also result in much adverse effects on your oral tissues as it develops the chances of oral cancer, oral thrush (candidiasis), inflamed salivary glands and leucoplakia. Smoking decreases prognosis to a greater extend especially the patients undergone oral surgery, single tooth dental implant or full mouth rehabilitation.
Prevention is better than cure is a phrase that you all might be well aware and smokers after knowing these adverse effects might be wandering how to prevent all those diseases. Well , here it is: Quit smoking. Quit and all of you will develop a good personality and a health individuality.
Moreover, you can delay all those adverse effects of smoking by brushing your teeth twice daily , flossing and using anti-septic mouth-wash as advised by your dentist. Don’t ever neglect your oral health. Upon seeing any of the adverse symptoms kindly do visit your dentist or oral hygienist.
Guys, do not worry if you are suffering from any of the diseases or symptoms mentioned above. You can reverse those easily by visiting your dentist. If your teeth have yellow because of smoking , you can reverse it by applying veneers. These are tooth coloured structures made up of porcelain or zirconia. Bleaching is the other alternative for discoloured teeth by methods like internal bleaching or walking bleaching. The other is implants if you have lost a tooth structure because of smoking . You can put a dental implant to cover the missing space.

—The author can be reached at: naseerb07@gmail.com

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