Tobacco use, (cigarettes, cigars, or chewing tobacco) is one of the leading causes for more than 25 known diseases, making it a greater risk to your health than any single disease. Many people may not understand its impact on oral health, but tobacco use is amongst the most prominent risk factors in the development of gum disease. Surprised? Below we break down seven of the most common effects of tobacco on your oral health.

The Shocking Effects of Tobacco Use:

Oral cancer

Oral cancer is largely a result of one’s lifestyle, meaning consistent use of tobacco products, smoking and alcohol use can result in sickness. Studies show that 90% of tobacco users develop oral cancer. Although tobacco is the leading global cause of cancer, it is preventable. Because there is no safe level of tobacco use, those who use any form of tobacco products are urged to quit.

Periodontal disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection that occurs when bacteria builds up beneath the gum line. Smoking and tobacco use increases the amount of bacteria in the mouth, and can irritate and destroy gum tissue, leading to disease. When gum disease worsens, the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place weaken, and can ultimately cause your teeth to loosen or fall out.

Tooth staining/discoloration

One of the first and most obvious results of smoking and tobacco use are stained teeth. Just like your skin, your teeth have pores which easily absorb nicotine and tar, creating a yellow stain on the surface of the tooth. When it comes to chewing tobacco, the dark colored tobacco combined with your saliva creates a brown liquid that engulfs your teeth, leaving serious stains. To reverse the damages of tooth discoloration, visit your periodontist for a deep cleaning, and to discuss the ways you can quit using tobacco.

Gingival recession

Gum recession is when your gum pulls away from your teeth, exposing the root and leaving you at a risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease. Smoking and tobacco use can cause the gum to wear away, increasing your chances of developing an infection. Gingival recession can be prevented through changes in lifestyle and implementing a proper oral hygiene routine, and can be treated by a periodontist. If you suffer from gum recession, contact us today to set up an appointment.

Weak Immune System

Smoking is one of the leading causes of a weak immune system. Because smoking and tobacco use impairs your body’s natural infection fighters, you become more susceptible to infection and disease. When you develop a bacterial infection in your mouth, it can lead to periodontal disease, it can spread through the pulp of your teeth leaving you in need of root canal therapy, and it can lead to bone loss. If you smoke or use tobacco products, schedule a checkup with your periodontist to learn whether you’ve developed tainted gums, and learn how you can quit.

Worn Enamel

Because products containing tobacco also include a number of other ingredients, including tar and small bits of sand-like grit that are finely mixed in, it is most likely you won’t notice what else is inside. However the effects are serious, as these particles harm your enamel. Although your enamel is tough, over time the consistent scraping and scratching of these tiny particles will wear down your enamel, causing increased tooth sensitivity, and changes in the complexion of your teeth. Say goodbye to a beautiful smile!