No matter in what form you take it, tobacco has some very harmful effects on the human body. Not only is it harmful to the internal functions of the body, but it also has some severely bad effects on your teeth as well. Tobacco is one of the prime risk factors for many types of gum-related diseases. If you are a smoker or someone who likes to chew it in a non-smoking way, you are sure to come across tell-tale signs of the damage it is causing to your gums and teeth. But there can be serious underlying critical risks that may not be visible to the naked eye.
Let’s have a closer look at some of these risks and tobacco effects on teeth. The list is as follows:
1. Leads to Bad Breath
It is no secret that when you have just smoked a couple of cigarettes, after about half an hour of the smoky smell, you can feel that bad taste in your mouth that leads to bad breath. This is because the nicotine in your mouth disturbs the pH levels of your saliva making it more acidic leading to a build of foul smell and subsequent bad breath.
2. Discoloration of Teeth
If you are a chain smoker or chew tobacco too much, the nicotine from the tobacco affects your teeth enamel thereby giving a yellowish tint to your teeth. Prolonged use can lead to your teeth to turn darker and even brown in some cases.
3. Inflammation of the Mouth
Smoking and tobacco chewing can cause inflammation of the glands that are present in your mouth. Tobacco can cause severe inflammation of salivary glands that are present towards the upper roof of your mouth which if left unchecked can lead to some other gum infections that you would want to avoid.
4. Increases Plaque and Tartar Build-up
All the harmful chemicals that are available in tobacco can affect the saliva flow in your mouth. This makes it easier for the bacteria in your mouth to stick to your gums and teeth which can lead to a buildup of plaque. This plaque can harden to form tartar which if not removed regularly can lead to serious periodontal diseases.
5. Increases the Risk of Jawbone Loss
Smoking and persistent consumption of other tobacco products can lead to a reduced jaw bone density. This reduction in bone density meaning the jawbone eventually recedes that can further lead to the loss of the bone and subsequent fall of teeth.
6. Increases Risks of Leukoplakia
Leukoplakia is a severe condition that leads to the formation of white patches and spots inside the mouth. Excessive smoking and the use of other tobacco products increase the risk of leukoplakia which in fact are the first signs of development of oral cancer. Untreated leukoplakia may develop into a cell carcinoma leading to skin cancer.
7. Increases the Risks of Developing Gum Diseases
Smokers are at a high risk of developing serious gum infections. Tobacco loosens the tissues in the gums thereby causing the teeth’ attachment to the jaw to loosen up. This allows the bacteria, plaque, and tartar to seep through to the roots of your gums leading to swelling up of gums due to infections. Smokers and tobacco users have a poor immune system which makes it even more difficult to fight these gum infections.
8. Increases the Risks of Decaying of Teeth
Due to the high levels of plaque, bacteria, tartar, and diseases of the gums in the mouths of smokers and tobacco chewers, the risks of tooth decay increases manifold. As such cases of tooth decay are very common in chain smokers and tobacco users.
9. Leads to Tooth Loss
Tobacco is a major cause of tooth loss. Decaying of teeth, periodontal diseases, severe gum infections, weakened jawbone and tissues of the gum, jawbone loss, etc can lead to tooth loss in smokers and tobacco users alike.
10. Delays Healing of Oral Wounds
Smokers usually find it very difficult in the healing of any wounds in their mouths if they have undergone surgery. That is because smoking and tobacco usage reduce the levels of oxygen in the mouth that is a very essential component required for the cells to heal.
11. Interferes with Blood Flow in the Mouth
Increased use of tobacco affects the gum function and causes infections that restricts the proper flow of blood in the mouth. That is why smokers often report issues such as bleeding gums and swelling of gums and tissues.
12. Increased Risks of Cancer of the Mouth
As per studies around 90 percent of people who have been diagnosed with oral cancer have been using tobacco. This includes the cancer of the mouth, lips, gums, and throat. All of these conditions are life-threatening conditions and deaths of patients suffering from oral cancers have seen a constant rise. Even if they survive, they often lead miserable lives.
There is undoubtedly no other concrete measure than to eliminate the root cause. And that is to stop the consumption of tobacco in all its forms. Regardless, of the number of years that you have been smoking or using tobacco products, it is never too late to quit.
Studies have revealed that quitting smoking reduces your risk of developing periodontal diseases significantly. Another study suggested that about 98% of leukoplakia patients are completely cured within 6 weeks of quitting smoking.
Even if you find it difficult to quit; reduce smoking or tobacco intake in any form and even that can work wonders in reducing the risks if not eliminating them.
To conclude, if you want to be healthy and shiny white teeth you must stay away from tobacco. It is a strict no. Zero usage of tobacco means zero risks in terms of gum and teeth diseases. Having said that it is important to take proper hygienic care of your teeth even if you are a non-smoker. Brush, floss, and mouthwash regularly but do take care of your teeth. Prevention as always is better than any cure.
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