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Smoking and your Oral Health

Say NO to Smoking!

Tooth staining and constant bad breath are the least of your worries when it comes to smoking and the severe detrimental effect is has on your oral health.

As well as causing lung cancer, heart disease and a myriad of other health conditions, smoking is one of the main contributors of gingivitis—an inflammation of the gums causing them to bleed when brushing and flossing. Smoking can also lead to Periodontal (gum) disease, a degenerative disease of the gum and supportive bone—the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

The effects of smoking can render some smokers unsuitable for various restorative dental procedures. Dental implants are at the top of the list, as smoking can impede the recovery of the gum tissue and gum disease. It can lead to a reduction in jawbone density and make placing implants unsuitable.

Smoking is the major cause of oral cancer. Often in its early stage it does not cause any discomfort and therefore is difficult to diagnose without a radiograph and thorough examination during a regular check-up.

Oral conditions that can occur as a result of smoking include:

  • Increased plaque and calculus (tartar) build-up
  • Constant bad breath
  • A loss in jawbone density
  • Gum disease resulting in tooth loss
  • An increased risk of dental caries (cavities)
  • Red sores on your lips, gums or inside your mouth that do not heal within several weeks and may bleed easily
  • Leukoplakia, a white, scaly patch of skin inside your mouth or on your lips
  • Cancerous and precancerous lesions in your mouth that can be difficult to detect
  • Swelling or lumps in your mouth, neck, lips or on your tongue
  • Numbness or pain in your mouth or throat without any obvious causes
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing food

For these reasons, our basic advice to our patients is to quit smoking or gradually reduce the number of cigarettes. Speak with your GP for further advice and possible medical treatments that may help you to quit smoking.

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