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Smoking is dangerous for oral health
April 14, 2018 | 7:15 PM
by Dr Puneet Soratur
People who smoke and chew tobacco are at a much higher risk of developing throat cancer.
 
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It is a known fact that people who smoke can end up having serious health issues and, in some cases, it can turn out to be fatal too. What most people do not understand is what kind of damage smoking can do to their mouth, gums, and teeth. Unfortunately, the repercussions of smoking are not discussed as much as the rest of the body. While it is a common knowledge that smoking is bad for your heart and lungs, but did you know it is also a major factor in dental problems?

Smokers are at a much higher danger of developing oral cancer and gum problems. Research has shown that people are six times more susceptible to suffer from advanced gum disease than non-smokers. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), smoking and use of tobacco use causes teeth to stain, bad breath and weaken the sense of taste. Over time, smoking slows down one’s immune system, leading to serious side-effects, as a result, making smoking the most significant risk factor associated with gum or periodontal disease. Smoking causes tenderness around the tooth, affecting the bone and its supporting structures, and in more serious cases can also result in tooth loss.

Here are some disturbing facts to serve as motivation to quit smoking:

Approximately 90 per cent of people diagnosed with oral cancer and some types of throat cancer have been tobacco users. People who smoke and chew tobacco are at a much higher risk of developing these cancers.



Research has shown an astonishing 37% of patients who continued to smoke post their cancer treatment went to develop a second cancer either of the mouth, throat or larynx. Notoriously even smokeless tobacco can cause oral cancer either on the cheek, gums and inner surface of the lips. Smokeless tobacco is known to increase the risk of these cancers by nearly 50 times.

Here is how you can protect your teeth and gums against the consequences of smoking:

The very first step would be to make a serious effort to quit smoking. However, if it is challenging to quit smoking, then my suggestion would be to try and cut the number of cigarettes in a day.

Inculcate good dental hygiene habits by thoroughly cleaning your teeth and gums twice a day with good quality fluoride-based toothpaste. Invest time in flossing or use inter dental cleaners every day to clean between your teeth.

Schedule a visit to your dentist regularly for some professional cleaning and learning how to give proper care to your pearly whites at home. It is important to know that early intervention and regular professional clean up can help you prevent unwanted dental problems and keep your teeth and gums healthy and safe.

Train yourself to drink plenty of water and hydrate your mouth to avoid having a dry mouth. Alternatively, you can use a sugar-free chewing gum to promote production of saliva.

How to get rid of smoking stains on teeth?

One of the challenges or side-effects that most smokers have is that their teeth get stained as a result of smoking. Smoking can take a heavy toll on your teeth and usually find it difficult to smile in public due to ugly stains. However, there are a few things you could do to reduce the stains on your teeth and the first step would be by switching from your regular toothpaste to whitening toothpaste. Alternatively, you could get veneers, which are just paper-like thin shells made from porcelain and that is placed on top of your teeth to provide a protect and cover the ugly stains. Thirdly, you can ask your dentist for a laser whitening treatment. This is probably the fast way to treat tough smoking stains. The procedure takes anything from 30 minutes to an hour and is completely painless.

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Dr Puneet Soratur is Senior Dental Surgeon at Wassan Specialty Dental Center. Visit wassandental.com

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