If you are a tobacco user, 31 May is the day selected by the World Health Organisation to recognise the harmful impact of tobacco. Learn more about the effects it has on oral health.
World No Tobacco Day, on the 31st of May, is an initiative by the World Health Organization which highlights risks associated with the usage of tobacco, and advocates for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. With widespread warning labels, billboards and public service announcements, the harmful effects of tobacco smoke on the body are common knowledge.
However, as Mathee Dental Studio, we’d like to emphasise that smoking is dangerous for your oral health, beyond illnesses of the lungs and circulatory system.
Oral cancer involves the mutation of healthy cells in your mouth. When tobacco is chewed or inhaled, harmful chemicals will pass directly through the mouth and throat. Over an extended period of exposure, these chemicals may cause changes on a cellular level, which leads to oral cancer.
By reducing your tobacco usage or by quitting, you greatly decrease your chance of developing oral cancer.
Tobacco reduces salivary flow throughout your oral cavity and the blood flow to your gum tissue. This leads to gum disease, caused by an infection that destroys the bone surrounding your teeth.
If you smoke 10 cigarettes per day, you are twice as likely to develop gum disease, whilst heavier smokers can be six times more likely to develop gum disease. This allows more plaque to accumulate on your teeth, while also rendering your gums less able to fight disease and heal.
Poor healing after dental work
When you are a smoker and develop oral health problems, after receiving dental work, you are more likely to experience complications during the healing process than non-smokers.
Smokers may develop what is known as ‘dry socket’, which is a poorly healing tooth socket, in the aftermath of tooth extraction and can be extremely painful.
It’s also common for smokers to experience pain after oral and gum surgery and in the instance of dental implant treatment, are less likely to experience successful integration of the implant to the bone.
Tar and nicotine in cigarettes can stain your fingers. It should come as no surprise that they can have the same effect on your teeth.
Your tooth enamel has microscopic pores which the nicotine and tar particles can stick to. The particles build up with repeated use and, after a while, can stain the teeth. The outer layer of your teeth may discolour and develop yellow or brown tints. Restorations like crowns or veneers can also stain with tobacco use.
There’s no way around this one, tobacco smoking can add to bad breath or halitosis. Not just this, but tobacco can decrease your ability to taste food. Bad breath is also associated with tobacco use due to tobacco’s lingering smell and the bacterial build-up inside your mouth that is more likely if you smoke.
World No Tobacco Day exists to increase awareness of the health complications that tobacco brings. Quitting is a challenge because tobacco is addictive, but with help from Mathee Dental, you can take back control of your oral health!