As adults, we all know that cigarette or tobacco smoking is hazardous to our body’s health. But do we really know how smoking and oral health come hand in hand? Nowadays, a lot of people, even the young ones, are captivated in smoking because of the lack of education of what the threats are.
• Gives you a stinky breath. The tar and nicotine are left around the mouth, like the tongue, gums, and cheeks that causes bad breath. It also makes the mouth dry because smoking prevents it to produce saliva which is made to cleanse the inside of the mouth.
• Teeth are stained as a result of the tar and nicotine that are found in a cigarette which is also the main reason for lung cancer. This is also caused by decreased saliva flow in the mouth. More frequent dental cleanings are required because standard brushing will not remove the stains.
• Main reason for tooth decay is sugar, and yes, tobaccos have sugar that creates cavities and eventually causes tooth loss. It is confirmed that a smoker loses his teeth more than twice as a non-smoker does.
• Smoking is one of the biggest risk factor for developing and progression of gum disease, or what we also call periodontal disease. This includes gingivitis (bleeding of gums) and if not treated, leads to periodontitis (this is a a stage of gum disease which destroys the bone holding the teeth).
• Mouth sores or oral lesions are mainly caused by the use of tobacco. This affects not only the mouth, but it also includes the lips,
throat, gums and internal side of the cheek. It can be treated at the early phase but you will still need to see a specialist for the treatment or surgery. Examples of mouth sores are oral cancer which appears like an ordinary canker sore and comes out as a red or white patch; leukoplakia is identified as a whitish patch; and hairy tongue, an uncommon situation wherein taste buds are inflamed causing it to stretch out and be more visible. All of these make it difficult for someone to chew or swallow and the biggest complication of course is the oral cancer with a very high death rate.
Smoking and oral health cannot be mixed. If you want to maintain a good oral health, your smoking habit is detrimental in this endeavor. Unfortunately, in the end, you have to choose which is more important between smoking and oral health. The answer is supposed to be obvious but the choice will always be yours.
By Ladan Zinati