Despite the numerous health advisories issued as well as the legislation banning or discouraging smoking, some people still continue to puff away. But on top of the risk of having lung cancer or emphysema, smoking can also affect your dental health. Below are the changes which your mouth goes through whenever you smoke.
The most concerning thing about smoking with regards to dental health is the risk of developing oral cancer. While the statistics surrounding the number of people who smoke and then develop oral cancer differs, the fact remains that those who do develop oral cancer have a grim prognosis with the disease having a 40 to 50 percent mortality rate. And that mortality rate has been consistent for a couple of decades now. One reason for why oral cancer carries a very high mortality rate is because oral cancer is difficult to detect at its early stages and self-diagnosis is often impossible.
So what is the likelihood of you developing oral cancer if you smoke? According to experts around 90 percent of those who have the disorder have smoked at least once in their lives. A smoker is six times more prone to oral cancer compared to those who are non-smokers. If you’ve been known to smoke, try dropping by your dentist and routinely get screened for oral cancer.
The chemicals found in every stick of cigarette contains a dozen, if not more, of chemicals which are all toxic to your gums. Nicotine is just one. And when you smoke just one stick per day, you’re exposing your gums to daily abuse. In time, you will eventually develop a gum disease of some form whether it’s something mild as gingivitis or something severe light periodontitis, which includes the destruction of deeper tissues such as supporting bones and ligaments.
Another reason for why smokers are more prone to gum disease as compared to non-smokers is the fact that nicotine act as a very potent adhesive for plaque. With plaque adhering tightly to the surface of your teeth, it’s more difficult to remove this substance and they accumulate much faster along your gumline. Since plaque and tartar, the mineralized version of plaque, are both toxic to gums, gum diseases soon follow stead. To keep the plaque and tartar accumulations from increasing, deep dental cleaning or scaling and root planing procedure would be necessary in order to scrape off the tartar and then polish the exposed dental roots.
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