By now, most of society is aware that use of tobacco has many negative side effects, but have you considered its effects on your teeth and oral health? The most apparent side effect is dry mouth. Smoke inhalation causes salivary ducts and the tissue in your mouth to be dry and sticky. It can even change the consistency of your saliva! Lack of a little quality spit puts you at a higher risk for build up and decay.
It has also been shown that smoking is related to the failure of dental implants. Some oral surgeons may even recommend and patient try to quit smoking before implant placement in order to ensure the best results possible.
Smoking also causes vasoconstriction. This is the narrowing or shrinking of blood vessels which results in less blood flow to the tissues in your mouth such as your gums. A lack of blood flow means it is harder to get an inflammatory response in your gums. Think that it might not be so bad if your gums don’t get inflamed? Think again! Without inflammation, white blood cells cannot function to remove bacteria and control infections like periodontal infection. A healthy blood flow really does help aid in healing.
Using a smokeless tobacco? You’re at a much higher risk to develop oral cancer. If you’re not ready to quit, just be sure that you move your “chew” to a different place in your mouth each use. This will allow some time for your tissue to regenerate.
Quitting use of tobacco is a very personal decision. Be sure that when you decide to quit, you are the one deciding and that you’re ready for the commitment it takes. Your dental staff is trained to help you with this when you are ready!