Smoking and Your Oral Health

We all know that smoking is bad for our overall health, but did you know that smoking puts you at a greater risk for diseases such as oral cancer? By simply quitting smoking, smokers, can, over time, reduce their risk levels and the of course the sooner one quits, the greater the reduction in risk levels. Here are the facts: Quitting before age 40 can reduce excess mortality attributable to continued smoking by 90%; quitting before age 30 reduces risk levels by more than 97%!
Tobacco contains chemicals that are harmful to the human body and the smoking or chewing of tobacco is the cause of 80–90% of oral cancers. Other oral consequences of tobacco consumption include increased risk of periodontal disease, bad breath, tooth discoloration, an increased build up of dental plaque, and delayed healing following tooth smoking-mouthextraction, periodontal treatment or oral surgery.
People who smoke are also more likely to have gum disease. Smoking may change the type of bacteria in dental plaque, increasing the number of bacteria that are more harmful. It also reduces the blood flow in the gums and supporting tissues of the tooth and makes them more likely to become inflamed. Smokers’ gum disease will get worse more quickly than in people who do not smoke. Because of the reduced blood flow smokers may not get the warning symptoms of bleeding gums as much as non-smokers.
One of the effects of smoking is staining on the teeth due to the nicotine and tar in tobacco. It can make the teeth yellow in a very short time, and heavy smokers often complain that their teeth are almost brown after years of smoking. In this edition of the Morrison Dental Health Minute, MEC instructor Deborah talks about the dangers and effects of smoking on your oral health, and where you can go for help.