We’ve all heard the stories about how bad smoking is for our health and it’s only natural that because cigarettes are inhaled into the mouth, saying smoking is bad news in terms of your oral health is an understatement.
If you are a smoker and have no intention of breaking this nasty habit, you need to realise that when it comes to looking after your mouth and teeth, you need to be even more vigilant than the average person. Below, we’ve jotted down some of the ways you can help to minimise the damages of smoking from doing even more harm.
Let’s look at two of the most common oral problems caused by smoking.
According to the Australian Dental Association Inc., smokers are six times more likely to have serious gum disease. We’re not just talking about pinky-red gums here – Smoking is bad news when it comes to the supporting bone and the membrane that holds the teeth in place.
When the situation escalates to advanced gum disease (periodontitis), there’s potential for teeth to become loose which eventually leads to them needing to be extracted.
A real problem is that smoking can hide the signs of gum disease for years and it’s only when the gum disease becomes very advanced that a smoker will notice the changes.
What you can do: Flossing teeth and practicing mindful brushing can really go a long way here. Unfortunately, smokers do tend to have reduced sensation in their mouths making it difficult for them to detect and remove all of the plaque located at the gum margins.
While there’s no denying the damage to the teeth and gums smoking can cause, oral cancer is another huge issue for smokers.
What you can do to lessen the impact if you are a smoker:
- Don’t skip your regular check-ups with your dentist. During these visits, your dentist can at least watch out for any signs of gum disease and/or oral cancer.
- Regularly brush your teeth and be mindful that the toothbrush you’re using is able to reach those troubled areas.
- Floss, use a tongue cleaner as well as a mouthwash (this helps with the bad breath factor) on a regular basis.
- When it comes to toothpaste, buy toothpaste that’s made for smokers (yes, it does exist).
- Avoid the foods that are known for causing tooth staining such as coffee and soft drink.
WARNING SIGNS! Make an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible if you notice:
- Sores that don’t disappear around the face, mouth and neck (if it’s there for longer than 2 weeks, get it checked).
- Bleeding in the mouth or lesions, swelling and lumps (especially with the lips).
- Numbness in the mouth
What we’ve described above is by no means an extensive list. If you’re a smoker, it’s wise to schedule in an appointment with your NovaDental dentist to assess your unique situation.
Call us now on 1300 584 143 to make an appointment.