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Everyone knows by now that smoking is bad for your health, but much less known is the impact of smoking on your teeth. Apart from the fact that smoking doesn’t exactly improve your teeth, smoking can also lead to gum recession, gum inflammation, tooth decay and even loose teeth. In the text below, you can read about how smoking affects your teeth and what smoking does to them.
Dental plaque is the causative agent of gingivitis. Dental plaque is made up of bacteria and forms not only on your teeth but also between them and on the transition from your tooth to the gums. People who smoke have more plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) than people who do not smoke. Smokers therefore have more gum infections that are often more severe. When your gums are inflamed, they feel painful and bleed quickly when you brush. The initial stage of inflamed gums is called gingivitis, and in more advanced stages it is called periodontitis.
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Nicotine constricts the blood vessels in your gums so the symptoms of gum inflammation are not always noticed. As a result, such inflammation can spread and also affect the jawbone. It is therefore important to regularly have plaque and tartar removed by your dentist or dental hygienist. And for those who cannot or do not want to go to the dentist, tartar removers for home use are also on the market.
Dental plaque not only causes gum inflammation, it can also cause cavities. Dental plaque consists of 70% bacteria that can cause tooth decay and in people who smoke, the composition of the numbers of bacteria is often higher.
Smoking also causes bad teeth. In fact, one effect of smoking is that gum inflammation heals less quickly and the jawbone can begin to shrink. Therefore, smokers are more likely to lose teeth and these need to be replaced. This can be done with an implant on which a crown or denture is then placed later. But before that can happen, the implant must first grow well into the bone. Smoking can impair wound healing. The fusing of such an implant therefore often causes problems for smokers.
Another consequence of smoking is discolouration of your teeth. Well nobody has naturally pearly white teeth but in smokers you often see yellowish, brown or even black discolouration or stains on the teeth, the so-called smoker’s teeth. You also get these tarnishes when you drink coffee, tea or wine but tarnish caused by smoke is harder to remove. As you get older, it is a natural process for your teeth to discolour a bit but when you smoke, you accelerate this.
Quitting smoking is, of course, the best thing you can do for your teeth and your health. Until then, in addition to extra care by the dentist and dental hygienist, as a smoker you need to pay extra attention to daily oral hygiene. The best way to prevent gingivitis, cavities and tooth decay is to brush properly. This can be done using durable bamboo toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes or toothpaste tablets. Since nicotine deposits often settle in the spaces between your teeth, you should floss at least once a day with dental floss or a water flosser. To remove stains from your teeth, you can use oil pulling. When it comes to oral hygiene, don’t forget to use a tongue cleaner as many bacteria develop on the back of the tongue.
Frequently asked questions
Is smoking bad for your teeth?
We can be brief about that: Yes, smoking causes bad teeth and adversely affects your oral health. Smokers are therefore more likely to have tooth and teeth problems than people who do not smoke.
What are the effects of smoking on teeth?
Smoking does not just lead to discolouration of your teeth. It can lead to inflammation of your gums, cause cavities and even cause teeth to loosen, which can cause you to lose them.
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