Smoking and Oral Health

Smoking is proven to negatively affect oral, dental and overall health. The amount of damage smoking does to the mouth, teeth and gums is becoming more apparent.

Smoking causes problems such as:

  • Dark, blackish stains on teeth, gums and dentures due to the nicotine and tar in cigarettes sitting in the mouth. Beginning as yellow staining, it slowly progresses to those dark stains.
  • Increased risk of tooth decay.
  • Possible tooth loss with the increased risk of gum disease.
  • Bad breath.
  • Long lasting unpleasant taste.
  • Inflammation of salivary glands.
  • Increased white patches in the mouth.
  • Delayed and often painful healing after tooth extractions.
  • Lower success rate of dental implants.
  • Increased risk of oral cancer.

Gum disease

People who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque. This plaque sits on the gums and causes destruction of the bone and soft tissue which support the teeth.

Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor and therefore stops healthy blood supply to the teeth and gums. This weakens the body’s immune defences to combat infection and inflammation in the mouth. The disruption of normal gum tissue function increases the susceptibility to disease; smokers are six times more likely to suffer from gum disease than non-smokers. Nicotine also affects the composition of saliva, reducing its ability to fight the effects of acid in the mouth after eating and drinking.

In advanced gum disease, teeth can become loose and may need to be extracted.  Smoking will hide gum disease, resulting in an advanced case before noticing the damage. Flossing, careful brushing and cessation of smoking is required to arrest development of gum disease.

Proper dental hygiene starts the healing process. Contact our Patient Coordinator on (03) 9460 7070 to help plan what steps you can take to help heal the damage caused by smoking.

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