Smoking was once a socially acceptable vice that was glamorized by leading men and women in motion pictures, but those days are long gone. These days, people are aware of many of the health issues caused by smoking. However, many people don't realize that smoking can lead to an unfortunate bouquet of dental problems.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smokers are four times more likely to have oral health problems than people who have never smoked. It's not just cigarettes that cause damage, either. Pipes and cigar smoking can also be bad for dental health. Here are three scary ways smoking can cause major issues for your oral health.
Smoking Can Cause Oral Cancers
Smoking can cause cancer nearly anywhere in your body, and many cases of mouth cancer are related to smoking. Smoking can also cause lung and throat cancer. If you smoke, it's especially important to be aware of any changes in your mouth. Look for ulcers that won't heal. Examine your mouth for lumps. See a dentist and a primary physician for regular check-ups, too.
Smoking Can Cause Chronic Bad Breath
While not deadly like oral cancers, bad breath can certainly put a damper on your social life. In fact, people who smoke often have what is aptly called "smoker's breath," which refers to the distinct kind of stinky breath that smokers often develop. While breath mints and sprays may put a temporary band-aid on the issue, it's important to stop smoking to get rid of bad breath.
Smoking Can Lead to Gum Disease
Smoking can also lead to gum disease and tooth loss. In fact, it's one of the most significant factors in the development of gum disease. It can even lower the chances that treatment will be successful, and it may impair blood flow to the gums. It can affect how the teeth are connected to the bone and soft tissues in your mouth, and in severe cases, tooth loss can result. If you have a family history of dental disease, that can make you more susceptible to those issues.
Finally, keep in mind that you can reverse a lot of the damage caused by smoking by quitting. The sooner you stop smoking, the sooner you can enjoy the benefits of a nicotine-free lifestyle. Make a list of your reasons to quit and talk to your doctor if you need help kicking nicotine out of your life. Your smile will show how much better you are without the habit. Contact a clinic like Centre Family Dentistry to learn more.