If you are a smoker, you almost certainly realize the potential and possibly life-threatening risk to your general health but are you aware of how the habit affects your dental health. In fact, the impact is far-reaching and can do far more damage than merely give you smoker’s breath. Smoking can stain your teeth, increases the risk of gum disease and tooth loss in Oshawa, and increases your risk of oral cancer, a potentially fatal disease.
How Does Smoking Stain Teeth?
Tooth stains are one of the most obvious side-effects of smoking and are caused by the nicotine and tar in tobacco. Teeth can become yellow in a very short space of time. Long-term smokers will often have teeth that look quite brown.
The Effect of Smoking on Your Gum Health
Gum disease is a risk for everyone, but smokers are more likely to develop this condition. People who smoke often have more dental plaque because the nicotine and tar make it easier for plaque to stick to teeth. Dental plaque causes infection and inflammation in gums and smokers are less able to fight disease.
When you smoke, it constricts your blood vessels, so it is harder for your body to transport essential nutrients to your gums and to transport harmful toxins away from the gums. As your blood vessels constrict, your gums are less likely to bleed while infected. Bleeding gums are a frequent symptom of gum disease and will often alert people to this problem. If your gums don’t bleed while infected, gum disease is easier to ignore until it eventually becomes much more severe.
How Does Smoking Increase the Risk of Oral Cancer?
Smoking is a significant risk factor for oral cancer. According to the Government of Canada, the risk of oral cancer in smokers is approximately 5 to 10 times higher compared to people who have never smoked.
How Margolian Dentistry Can Help Smokers
If you do smoke, we will work with you to help reduce the effects to your oral health. It is crucial that you visit our dentist in Whitby regularly for dental check-ups. We can examine the condition of your teeth and gums and will check for any early signs of gum disease which may have been masked by smoking. Also, we carry out regular screenings for oral cancer.
How Oral Cancer Screenings Can Help
Dentists are specially trained to check the inside of your mouth for any changes that require further investigation. We also use a VELscope, a special device emitting blue light. The light causes any changes to your oral tissues to fluoresce differently to healthy tissues so we can identify these changes more effectively. These changes include any lumps or growths, any areas of thickened skin or skin that has changed its colour or texture, and any sore spots.
Sore spots or ulcers that fail to heal after a couple of weeks should always be checked by a dentist, so please contact us if you have a mouth ulcer that is taking a long while to heal so we can assess it more closely. If necessary, we can take a tiny sample of cells from inside your mouth for a detailed examination or will refer you to a specialist.
Regular Hygiene Appointments
Your hygiene appointments are also crucial for maintaining good oral health. Most people need to see a dental hygienist in Ajax every six months, but some patients might benefit from more frequent visits. A hygiene appointment ensures all hardened plaque, a substance called calculus is removed from your teeth, getting rid of the source of any potential infection, so you are less likely to develop gum disease. Having your teeth cleaned also helps to brighten your smile, removing some of the stains caused by smoking.