Tobacco: Your teeth’s arch nemeses

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At Cosmetics & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, we have all your dental cleaning needs and answers. Dental care is a very sensitive (ouch!) and important part of your overall health. It becomes even more important when we have some habits that are hard to kick, especially tobacco. Our dental team believes that just because you smoke does not mean you do not care about your dental hygiene. So, we have decided to share some facts with you about tobacco and your teeth.

It is widely accepted that tobacco smoking has numerous adverse effects on your health, right? And because you smoke with your mouth, naturally, your teeth are also affected. For this reason, anybody who smokes should take extra care of their dental hygiene.  The most common oral problem smokers face is gum disease, gingivitis. Actually, smokers are four times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers.

Also, smokers are at a higher risk for developing leukoplakia. In leukoplakia, your good, doctor cells, die off and bad bacteria can overgrow in your mouth. Then the bad bacteria can enter your bloodstream, leading to more diseases and cancer. It is important that you brush your teeth or use a mouthwash specifically targeted at maintaining good bacteria in your mouth after you smoke. The longer you wait between smoking and rinsing your mouth, the longer time the bad bacteria have to grow.

Another obvious negative outcome of smoking is a not-so-attractive smile. Without proper dental care, there is a steady buildup of plaque and tartar and staining. Some smokers can also slowly lose taste and smell associated with the use of their tongue because of something called a black hairy tongue that can develop in smokers because of the tobacco. Something we tell our patients who are smokers that there can be a delay in tooth adjustments with orthodontic work that can be related to poor healing due to tobacco.

Now, some of these scary facts aside, there are precautions you can take. Starting with, do not skip regular dental checkups!!! Seeing your dentist regularly can help you learn the best ways to deal with any diseases early on and avoid them. We also recommend that smokers use a targeted toothbrush that are stiff and strong to get those hard to reach places. There are toothpastes designed for smokers to provide additive protection, ask one of our Irving dentists today!

From what we have learned about teeth, we believe that smokers should avoid foods and drinks that can cause additive erosive damage to their teeth. Many people like to have a cigarette with their morning coffee, and we advise against that. The acidity in both of the coffee and tobacco is hastening tooth decay that can be avoided. Highly acidic foods and drinks will interfere with cavities that are in place, too.

At home, you can regularly check for any sores, lesions, or bumps in your mouth, lips, or throat. If you see any of these and you are in the Irving, Texas area and have any concerns or questions, or if you want to schedule a dental appointment, contact us today at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry.