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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bad Effects of Smoking on Dental Health

Smoking is known to have many ill-effects on health and most of us are aware of the dangers of smoking on general health. What people tend to ignore is the impact of smoking on dental health.

Let us analyze some of the bad effects of smoking on oral health.

Tooth Discoloration: Most smokers are generally aware of the tooth stains that are caused by smoking. These tooth stains are due to nicotine and tar present in the cigarette. The staining ranges from yellow to dark brown (from years of smoking).The staining can be on specific teeth or general discoloration. These stains are hard to remove by normal brushing.

Bad Breath: Smokers are at a much greater risk of developing bad breath than non smokers. The nicotine and tar content gives rise to a typical bad breath known as smokers breath.

Apart from this smoking causes dry mouth which is a leading cause of Halitosis (bad breath).

Tooth Decay: Smoking puts you at a greater risk of developing dental caries due to plaque build up.

Gum Disease: Smoking also results in gum disease due to plaque and tartar build up. Smoking also interferes with the normal functioning of the cells in the gum tissue. A recent study published in the journal of Periodontology highlights that smokers are 4 times more likely to develop
advanced gum disease.

Tooth Loss: Advanced gum disease (Periodontitis) is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Oral Cancer: We easily associate smoking with lung cancer but another major bad effect of smoking is oral cancer. Nearly 90% of all Oral Cancer patients are smokers.

Some other bad effects of smoking include:

*Jaw bone loss
*Mouth bores
*Shifting teeth
*Hairy tongue
*Altered sense of taste and smell
*Delayed wound healing
*Smokers lip

Smoking not only creates dental health issues but worsens already existing dental conditions.
The Journal of Periodontology reports a direct correlation between gum disease and number of cigarettes smoked per day. There was an increased likelihood of developing gum disease for people who smoked more.

It reports that people who smoked less than half a pack a day were three times more likely to suffer from periodontal disease where as people who smoked more than one and half pack were 6 times more likely for the same. Recent studies have pointed out the reduced ability of the body to heal itself after surgery. This is because the body’s defense system was weakened by years of smoking.

There are plenty of harmful effects of smoking on oral health which gives all the more reasons to quit smoking.

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