How Does Smoking Affect My Mouth?
According to Cancer Research UK about 15% of Adults in the UK currently smoke. We all know that smoking is bad for you, but do these people actually know the effect smoking can have on your mouth?
As always, it is vitally important that you attend regular, bi-annual dental appointments. It is even more important when you smoke, so that your dentist can monitor the effect this habit is having on your oral health.
Let’s explore some of the effects smoking can have on your mouth:
Some of the effects this habit has on the mouth can be spotted almost immediately after starting to smoke, these include:
- Stained teeth and tongue,
- Gum discolouration,
- Changes in appearance of roof of the mouth,
- Bad breath,
- Loss of taste and smell.
If a person smokes often, for a long period of time – it could start to have the following effects:
Reduced Blood Flow
Smoking reduces the blood flow to the gums; this can cause and hide the signs of gum disease. An early sign of gum disease is bleeding of the gums when eating or brushing teeth, when there is a reduced blood flow bleeding is less likely. As a result of this early sign not being present, a smoker is on average three times more likely to get gum disease.
If you need to undergo dental surgery, such as; dental implants, tooth extractions or gum disease treatment the recovery time will be longer due to the inhibited healing caused by this reduced blood flow.
Reduced Saliva Flow
Not many people know the importance saliva has within the mouth… It protects teeth from potentially harmful bacteria and helps to prevent tartar from building up. Smoking reduces the amount of saliva being generated within the mouth by blocking the salivary glands, this can lead to an individual developing thicker saliva (that does not protect the teeth as well), sores, fungal infections, gum disease and symptoms of dry mouth. The symptoms of dry mouth are:
- Dryness or feeling stickiness within the mouth,
- Thick and stringy saliva,
- Bad breath,
- Difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing,
- Dry or sore throat and hoarseness,
- Dry and/or grooved tongue,
- Change in the sense of taste.
If you have any concerns about this then we would recommend seeing your dentist for advice.
Increased Risk Of Mouth & Lip Cancer
If you discover any lump, discoloured patch of skin, ulcer or sore on the mouth, lip or tongue that does not heal within three weeks then we advise that you get it checked out by your dentist. The inhibited healing could be as a result of reduced blood flow due to smoking, but in these cases, it is much better to get it checked.
Smoking doesn’t just affect the mouth, but the whole body. It is important to be aware of the risks associated with smoking and what you should be looking out for. For in-depth information about the effects of smoking on the body visit the NHS’s dedicated page.
Concerned about the affects your smoking habit may be having on your mouth and teeth?
If you would like some advice or would like to book an appointment, please contact Shifnal Dental Care on 01952 460119 or fill out our enquiry form. Our treatment coordinator Katherine would be happy to speak to you about any concerns or queries you may have.
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