Smoking is not only damaging to your overall health, it can lead to a number of problems for your teeth and gums. Unfortunately, some people struggle to quit, so their dental health continues to suffer. If you are a smoker and concerned with your dental health, here is what you need to know.
What Impact Does Smoking Have?
Smoking can affect your dental health in a number of ways. For instance, smoking increases your risk of developing gum disease and throat cancer. It also is a contributing factor to tooth loss.
Tooth loss is the result of plaque targeting your gum tissue and the bone in which the teeth are embedded. As the tissue and bone is weakened, you become more susceptible to tooth loss.
Smoking also affects your ability to recover from dental procedures. For instance, if you have a tooth extracted, you have a chance of developing dry socket due to smoking. Smoking interferes with your blood's ability to clot. Clotting is necessary for the healing of the gums and to cover the nerves after a tooth is extracted. If clotting does not occur, your nerves are exposed, and you can experience extreme pain.
In addition to the physical problems that smoking can cause, you can also experience cosmetic issues, such as discoloration.
What Can You Do?
Ideally, the best way to avoid smoking-related dental problems is to stop smoking. However, this is often easier said than done. Since you are a smoker, you will have to take extra precautions to protect your teeth and gums.
For instance, your dentist might recommend that you have more frequent checkups than a non-smoker would. Professional cleaning during those visits can help to remove harmful plaque.
Switch to a toothpaste that is specifically designed for smokers. This type of toothpaste is chemically stronger and can handle the additional bacteria in your mouth that has resulted from smoking. You can also use mouthwash that is designed for smokers.
You also need to perform regular self-examinations of your mouth for signs of oral cancer. Look for sores, white patches, swelling, and bleeding. If these signs appear and do not disappear, schedule an appointment with your dentist.
The toothbrush you use can also help deal with the effects of smoking. Tar from the cigarettes tend to stick to the teeth. To remove the tar, you need a stiff-bristled toothbrush. At the same time, the brush you choose needs to be small enough that it can reach all of the areas of your mouth so you can get a thorough brushing.
For more information, contact Simmons Craig A D D S or a similar dental professional.