Here at Scott W. Grant, DMD Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, preventative care is one of our priorities with all patients of all ages. We provide a huge range of dental care services for almost any oral care issue, from root canals to dental implants and many more, but our first goal is always to prevent the sorts of conditions that require these services to begin with. Unfortunately one of the most common preventable cause of oral health issues is cigarette smoking. Despite the fact that cigarette smoking rates are dropping significantly in the US compared to previous decades, over 10 percent of the population still uses them – this means millions of Americans. Not only are cigarettes detrimental to your overall health, carrying heightened risks of several major diseases, they’re very harmful to oral health as well. This two-part blog will examine the impact of cigarettes on the mouth, including a look at a modern alternative that’s on the market.
Stains and Discoloration
While 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 Complications
Cigarettes 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.
Another 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.