Gum DiseaseWhile gum disease is possible for anyone, it has several major risk factors that heighten the possibility someone will get it – and cigarette smoking is one major such rusk factor. Those who smoke are about two to three times more likely to develop gum disease, including severe types that lead to bone loss and other major soft tissue concerns. Cigarette smoking promotes plaque and bacteria growth in the mouth, and as these multiply, they cover more and more of the tooth surface and begin to impact the gums. This is what leads to gum disease. When it goes untreated, gum disease will trickle down into areas like tooth loss and other major tissue damage, the sort that creates permanent issues in some cases.
Taste LossWhile it’s not necessarily a health area per se, the long-term and recurring use of cigarettes or any form of tobacco has been proven to lead to dulling of the taste buds. This is due to the large quantities of chemicals found in these products, many of which outright damage the taste buds and make them unable to function how they once did. On the flip side, many people who quit smoking after a period of time report that their taste improves significantly afterward. The damage to taste buds is not always permanent.
Vaping and E-CigarettesCigarette smoking has certainly decreased over the last several decades, but at least over the last several years, it’s been partially replaced by vaping and e-cigarettes, which often describe the same thing. This is still something of a newer area, both for dentists and doctors alike, and more research is needed. But there’s no question that introducing smoke into the lungs is a negative for overall health, and due to logical concerns about how these items will impact oral care, they are generally not recommended by dentists. If you’re using one to help you quit cigarettes, speak to your dentist about some tips. For more on how cigarette smoking risks your oral health, or to learn about any of our family dentist services, speak to the staff at the offices of Scott W. Grant, DMD Family and Cosmetic Dentistry today. Continue Reading
Stains and DiscolorationWhile it’s not the most serious health-related risk, cigarette smoke can have a huge impact on the color and appearance of your teeth. Many longtime smokers have stained teeth that appear more yellow or even orange. Those who care about a beautiful smile will often spend more on teeth whitening and similar services. Not only are stained teeth a drain on self-esteem, they can impact your daily life in indirect ways. For example, people with yellowed teeth are less likely to get a job after an interview, and may notice issues in their social lives.
Tooth Decay and Resulting ComplicationsCigarettes contain a huge number of harmful chemicals, including various forms of acid, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, lead, nicotine, tar and others. These chemicals are known to directly lead to tooth decay, primarily through stripping the protective enamel from teeth and making decay more likely. As a result of this decay, cigarette smokers are at higher risk of losing teeth than non-smokers. This tooth loss can in turn shift other teeth and damage the entire mouth. Those who smoke are more likely to need to undergo a root canal, need crowns or bridges, or use cosmetic items like implants and veneers in the mouth.
Tongue CancerAnother major risk of cigarette smoking is tongue cancer, which is diagnosed in almost 10,000 Americans each year. Those in the early stages of tongue cancer may note small white bumps that grow in size – if it’s not treated promptly, it can spread to other areas of the body and create a major life risk. For more on the risks inherent in cigarette smoking, or to learn about any of our dental services for the whole family, speak to the staff at the offices of Scott W. Grant, DMD Family and Cosmetic Dentistry today. Continue Reading
Apple Cider VinegarApple cider vinegar is great for multiple areas of toothache pain. For one, it’s known to have several antiseptic and anti-inflammatory characteristics that make it perfect for this kind of soothing need. But in addition, it’s also highly acidic – this means it actually works to kill the bacteria that are causing the infection to begin with even while it numbs the pain. It can be found in most houses, and can be applied easily by soaking into a cotton ball and then pressing it to the painful area.
Extract, Leaves and TeaThere are several items in this realm that you might consider for dulling the pain of a toothache:
- Peppermint: Available in tea, leaf or extract format, peppermint helps reduce swelling and soreness. Any of these formats are useful depending on what you have available in your home, with chewing peppermint leaves serving as the most direct form.
- Vanilla, almond or lemon: Extracts of any of these substances may help as well. Each involves the same format as apple cider vinegar – soaking in a cotton ball and then applying for a short period of time until pain begins to subside.
OilsThere are a number of different oils you might use here for temporary pain relief, several of which have anti-inflammatory characteristics. Some require a combination with water, while others can be applied straight to a cotton ball and then pressed on. Some options here are sunflower, sesame, nutmeg, clog, tea tree or oregano oil.
Other Natural ItemsYou have several other options available to you in the natural realm:
- Leaves and roots: Things like plantain leaves, garlic root and ginger can all relive pain temporarily.
- Potatoes: You may not have thought of potatoes as a primary option, but they can absorb moisture produced by your saliva and help lower the swelling. Onions may also do the same.
- Citrus: Lemons and limes provide pain relief, plus similar to apple cider vinegar are highly acidic and will work to break down bacteria that are causing the pain.
- Turmeric: This is a spice found in many pantry racks, and has antibacterial properties that can help relieve pain. You’ll need to make it into a paste using some water.
- Sharp pain in the tooth, almost as if someone is stabbing the area with something sharp.
- Possible throbbing, often mirroring your heartbeat.
- Irritated gums and inflammation around the tooth area.
- General mouth pain that can’t be easily defined.