Dental Hygiene Tips for Smokers
It is widely known that smoking can have a great number of adverse effects on the health of the smoker. Due to the nature by which the action of smoking is performed, it is only natural that oral health would be one of the areas most negatively affected by the act. It is very important, therefore, that a smoker take extra care of his/her mouth and teeth. There are ways in which a smoker can help to keep the damages of smoking from doing further harm through proper oral care.
Oral Health Problems Caused By Smoking
Smoking can cause many serious problems for teeth and oral structures. The problem can be further exacerbated when proper health care is not followed. Among the most common oral problems, smokers are at an increased risk for gum disease. Smokers are four times more likely of developing this problem than non-smokers. Gum disease, or periodontal disease as it is clinically known, occurs when a build up of plaque targets the tissue that makes up the gums, alveolar bone (where teeth are embedded), periodontal ligament (supporting the root of the tooth), and cementum (surface connecting the tooth to the alveolar bone). When these structures are negatively compromised, tooth loss can occur. Due to the excess of harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, smokers are twice more likely to suffer tooth loss than non-smokers.
Smokers are at a higher risk for developing leukoplakia, leading to throat, lung, and oral cancers. It can cause the salivary glands to become inflamed and contribute to deterioration of bone structure. Smokers also have a harder time recovering from dental procedures such as periodontal treatments, dental implants, and tooth extraction. Smokers are at a greater risk of developing dry socket from tooth extraction procedures. When dry socket occurs, the patient experiences severe pain in the affected area due to the bone and nerve endings being exposed.
In addition to these medical ailments, smoking can also cause vanity issues impacting the teeth and mouth. Due to an increased and steady buildup of plaque and tartar, the teeth of a smoker are less attractive in appearance. Smoking also stains the teeth and can cause bad breath. In some smokers, the tongue can develop a condition known as black hairy tongue, due to a growth that may grow as a result of tobacco use. The condition causes the tongue to become yellow, green, black, or brown, and give the appearance of being hairy. Smokers may also lose the sensation of taste and smell.