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How Does Smoking Affect Your Oral Health?

Woman pointing at her teeth and smoking

The Adverse Effects Smoking Has on Oral Health

Smoking is a dangerous habit and is associated with severe health consequences. As most know, smoking increases the risk of heart disease and lung cancer. However, many of us may not realize the damage it can cause to your oral health. Several oral health problems are associated with smoking, such as an increased risk for oral cancer, gum disease, and more.

The Link Between Smoking and Oral Cancer

Smoking increases cancer risk in the mouth, larynx, esophagus, and throat. Oral cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the mouth or throat tissues and can be fatal. The primary risk factor for developing oral cancer is tobacco use, including:

  • Cigarettes
  • Cigars
  • Chewing tobacco

Those who smoke or chew tobacco products are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers.

The Link Between Smoking and Gum Disease

In addition to increasing your risk of developing an oral cancer-related illness, smoking also increases your risk of developing gum disease because it causes more plaque to form on the teeth. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection caused by bacteria that attacks the gums and bone structure surrounding your teeth. Smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to develop gum disease because the toxins in cigarette smoke rob the bloodstream of oxygen, weakening the body’s ability to fight off infection. Since the body cannot fight off infection, the gums cannot properly heal.

Other Oral Health Problems Associated with Smoking

In addition to increasing your risk for oral cancer and gum disease, smoking increases your risk for other problems related to your mouth, including:

  • Bad breath
  • Stained teeth
  • Dry mouth
  • Reduced sense of taste and smell
  • Slower healing time following dental procedures

Taking Steps Toward a Healthier Mouth

If you are currently a smoker, we urge you to take action toward kicking the habit to avoid future severe health problems. If you feel ready to quit smoking, there are resources available that can help you through the difficult process. Quitting now will significantly reduce your risk of severe health complications down the road.

In addition to quitting smoking, proper dental care is key to improving oral and overall health. Here are five steps you can take toward a healthier mouth:

  1. Schedule regular cleanings every six months with your dentist.
  2. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  3. Floss at least once a day.
  4. Use a mouthwash at least once a day.
  5. Avoid eating sugary food or drinks.

Contact ProHEALTH Dental

At ProHEALTH Dental, our team of experienced dental experts is dedicated to improving and maintaining good oral health for everyone. If you have any questions about your oral health or want to schedule an appointment, give us a call! (855) 750-5011

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