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How Smoking Can Damage Your Teeth

25 July 2016

You can't possibly fail to know that smoking isn't actually good for any part of you. The idea of contracting a deadly cancer, being afflicted with crippling emphysema, or literally having your limbs rot off due to gangrene isn't putting you off lighting up, yet here you are reading an article about how it will affect your teeth.

The bad news is that it definitely will affect your teeth, and there is really no way to avoid this other than to not smoke.

  • For a start, all commercially available tobacco products contain combinations of highly toxic chemical compounds. When people say that cigarettes are poison, they're not just being moralistic. These products literally are just that. There are mountains of scientific evidence to prove it, and you already know anyway.
  • Now, apart from all those toxic compounds, the other thing you are drawing into your mouth is some seriously hot air. This inhalation of hot air can cause capillarial dilation in the incisors, and also in the surrounding gum tissue. That can give a sensation of pain, especially if you have any existing problems with the affected teeth.
  • In the same way, if you suffer from gum disease, smoking will exacerbate this condition. That actually weakens your teeth and makes them less securely embedded in the gums. They will thus be more prone to movement and falling out.
  • All the poisons from the tobacco products you are smoking will find their way inside your teeth via the blood supply, and will begin destroying your teeth on a cellular level from the inside out. Meanwhile all the staining agents in the products will begin darkening and yellowing your teeth from the outside in.
  • Smoking also leads to mouth dryness as it inhibits saliva production. Saliva contains enzymes that help to break down food particles and stains that may be clinging to the enamel surface. Thus, if you smoke a lot, you will have an increased risk of plaque and tartar build up occurring.
  • The dental problems can persist even after all your teeth have fallen out. A study by Carvalho et al conducted at the State University of Campinas in Brazil found that cigarette smoke inhalation could cause increased problems with healing and osseointegration.

In plain English this means that if some or all of your teeth have fallen out and you want to replace them with dental implants, there is an increased chance of the implant failing, or at least an increase in the amount of time between when the implant is installed and when a crown can be fitted to it.

Even with all that to worry about, the bad news isn't all done yet. According to information published by the American Dental Association, smoking can lead to loss of bone tissue in the jaw itself, which means the very base upon which natural teeth or implants need to be attached is deteriorated to the point that the teeth or implants can't remain positively attached to the jaw.

For all these reasons and many more, it's quite obvious that smoking is just as bad for your teeth as it is for any other part of you. On a more positive note, here is a video from Ailbhe, our dental hygienist who can help!

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