Smoking and your Teeth

If you are a smoker I’m sure you will be familiar with the images displayed on cigarette packaging showing a mouth with a nasty set of teeth, suffering the damages of smoking. But what is actually going on in these pictures and why should it be a warning that you don’t ignore?

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The first thing your eye is drawn to is the dark staining and discolouration of the teeth in the images. This is due to the tar in your cigarette smoke quickly forming on the surface of your teeth and after years of smoking causing your teeth to go brown. You can reverse this to a certain extent with whitening and stain removal from a hygienist but it will always recur with ongoing smoking.

The next thing you notice is that the gums have shrunk back from around the teeth. Smoking is a huge factor in gum disease and most smokers will suffer from at least gum recession, but this will often progress to lost teeth if not addressed. Gum disease is a process whereby the bone that holds your teeth in place shrinks back and where your bone goes the gums follow, and if there is enough loss of bone your teeth will become loose and could even fall out.  Once the bone surrounding your teeth is gone it never grows back to where it was originally, so the sooner you stop the better for your gums. The recession of gums also exposes the roots of your teeth which are much more vulnerable to tooth decay, so smoking is also an indirect cause of decay.

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The final and possibly most serious risk posed to your mouth and general health from smoking is oral cancer. Cancers of the mouth and throat are much more common in smokers especially when combined with other factors such as alcohol consumption. Even if they can be treated and cured these cancers can be highly disfiguring and make even simple things such as eating very difficult.

These are just the perils of smoking to your mouth not to mention the other long-term risks of damage to your lungs, other forms of cancer and increasing your risk of heart attacks so its Stoptober- Stop now!

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