The Great American Smokeout is held annually on the third Thursday in November. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, this event aims to help current smokers make a plan to quit, once and for all. As we all know, smoking can affect overall health such as the heart and lungs. But did you know that smoking can also affect teeth and oral health? Join your dentist in Cary as we talk about how smoking can affect both your body health and your oral health.
How Does Smoking Affect the Body?
Smoking can affect your body from the minute you take that first drag. But it’s not just cigarettes that can do this, it’s all types of tobacco products, including chewing tobacco, cigars, and pipe tobacco. When you introduce tobacco into the body through smoking, the harmful ingredients such as toxins, cancer-causing carcinogens, and nicotine (plus even more), effects can be immediate. These dangerous chemicals will hit your heart, brain, and other crucial organs within 10 seconds of each puff. Plus, they’ll be distributed throughout the body. This applies to smokeless tobacco too. Chewing tobacco can enter the rest of the body through the lining of the mouth.
Oral Health & Smoking
We are all aware of the whole-body risks of smoking such as an increased risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. But while the oral health risks aren’t as widely known, they’re still important to talk about.
The truth is, the teeth, gums, and entire mouth can be negatively affected by smoking. Some ways smoking can affect the mouth include:
- Smokers’ Breath – Cigarettes and cigars smell, and this stench can linger around on the breath for a long time. While many think this smell is just in the mouth, the truth is it can linger around in the lungs and the throat, making smokers’ breath apparent even if it’s been a while since you’ve smoked.
- Yellow Teeth – Cosmetically speaking, smoking or using any type of tobacco can cause yellow teeth. Tobacco products contain nicotine and tar, both of which can lead to tooth staining. Those who use tobacco may have yellow teeth or brown spots.
- Gum Disease – One of the more serious side effects of smoking, or any type of tobacco use, is gum disease. Gum disease affects the gum tissue and has been linked to health problems such as heart disease, respiratory infections, dementia, and diabetes. In its early stages, it can be treated and reversed by your dentist in Cary. However, if left alone for too long, it can’t be cured. Plus, gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss.
- Oral Cancer – The dreaded ‘C’ word that’s typically associated with tobacco can be applied to oral health, too. While many types of oral cancer can be treated and cured, they need to be caught early. Additionally, Johns Hopkins reported that cigarette smokers are 10 times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers and cigar smokers have about the same risk. This means that it’s even more important to see your dentist in Cary every six months if you’re a smoker or use any type of tobacco.
Quitting smoking can be hard. Really hard. But there are resources available through the CDC that can help. Start your journey towards a smoke-free life today!