Smoking is bad for your physical health. This is something we’ve all known for years, and yet it’s estimated that there are still 6.1 million regular adult smokers in England. The number of people who regularly smoke is in a gradual decline, which is a very good thing, but lots of people still don’t realise how smoking affects your teeth and dental health. Your dentist wants you to be aware of the health risks that smoking may impose on you.
Why smoker’s breath occurs
Smoker’s breath is far more ominous than just an unpleasant smell, it is a scary reminder of where your smoke is travelling to and where it collects. Your lungs are made up of tiny membranes called bronchioles that are filled with air holes for each inhale to pass through. They are made up of lots of passageways that filter the air and absorb it to pass it through to your blood stream. So, when you inhale smoke, it is passed through these chambers and some of the chemicals are absorbed into your bloodstream, which isn’t good. Smoker’s breath occurs because particles of smoke get trapped in these air passages of your bronchioles and are knocked loose on your breath when exhaling, laughing, or talking. This is why smoker’s breath can smell stale, because its often old smoke that is still hanging around.
How smoking affects your gums
It’s not just your lungs and breath that smoking takes its toll on. Most adults in the UK are experiencing or have experienced some form of gum disease, and smoking can make this sensitivity so much worse. Regularly smoking tobacco, causes a lack of oxygen in your bloodstream, leading to your gums not being able to heal properly. This means that any signs of gum disease could worsen far quicker for a smoker than a non-smoker. Gum disease is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss, and smoking can greatly accelerate this process. Smoking also compounds gum disease in that it changes the pH balance in your mouth, leading to an increased build-up of plaque and eventual tartar because the bacteria can thrive in these changed conditions. These rest atop the gum line and irritate the gums, causing them to recede. Smoking greatly increases your chances of developing an aggressive form of gum disease, and your dentist wants you to be aware that you could lose teeth.
Smoking and the risk of mouth cancer
Your dentist can help you learn the signs of mouth cancer and how to check your mouth yourself, but it’s far more preferable that you cut back on smoking to help prevent it. Statistics by the NHS estimate that 90% of people who develop mouth cancer (including it developing in the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat) currently use or have frequently used tobacco. This shows that almost exclusively smokers are at risk of this type of cancer.
Check for changes and visit your dentist
Always check yourself for changes in the soft tissues of your mouth and your own teeth for the benefit of your dental health. You are always welcome to visit your dentist in Brighton right here at Down House Dental Practice, and we’ll provide you with at-home care advice and lifestyle changes so that you may change your habits and better your dental health. Speak to a member of our dental team on 01903 813212 to book your initial appointment with us.