5 Oral Health Benefits You’ll Notice When You Quit Smoking
Smoking carries major health risks and these are not just limited to the organs in your body. As well as increasing your risk of lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems, smoking also poses a risk for your oral health. If you’ve decided to quit as part of the Stoptober challenge, here are just 5 of the many oral health benefits you’ll soon be experiencing:
Smoking is one of the most common causes of halitosis and once you’ve given up you’ll soon notice a positive change in this department. Many smokers chew sugar-free gum after a cigarette to help freshen their breath and it is also advisable to drink water afterwards and use mouthwash if possible. Bad breath can have an effect on self-confidence and the best way to prevent it is to practice good oral hygiene.
Smoking increases your risk of developing gum disease because it reduces blood flow to the gums, decreasing oxygen supply. When you quit smoking, you’ll soon find that your gums look and feel healthier and your risk of developing gum disease will fall. The most common symptoms of gum diseases include swelling, bleeding and sore gums.
Reduced risk of oral cancer
Smoking is a major risk factor for oral cancer and giving up will help to reduce your risk of developing the potentially life-threatening disease. Your risk is also increased if you drink, but if you drink on top of smoking you’re up to 30 times more likely to develop oral cancer than a non-smoker who doesn’t drink. Signs of oral cancer include swelling in the mouth, abnormal lumps in the mouth or throat, red or white patches, slow-healing mouth ulcers and a persistent sore throat.
The chemicals in cigarettes are known to cause enamel staining, making the teeth look yellow and unhealthy. Giving up smoking will help to prevent further staining. If you do feel self-conscious about discoloured teeth as a result of smoking, a dental hygiene session will be beneficial. During this session the hygienist would provide a clean and polish treatment to remove surface staining. For an even brighter smile, it’s worth considering professional whitening treatment. However, please be aware that teeth whitening is only legal when carried out by a registered dentist and having treatment with anyone without a GDC registration will put you at risk of dental damage.
Increased tooth life-span
When you give up smoking, you’ll be more likely to keep your natural teeth for longer as a knock-on effect of the reduced risk of gum disease. Gum disease is the most common cause of premature tooth loss for adults in the UK. In advanced cases of gum disease, pockets form between your teeth and gums and the bony structure that holds the teeth in place becomes damaged. This leads to the teeth becoming loose in their sockets and eventually falling out.
If you have any questions about the impact of smoking on oral health, don’t hesitate to visit your dentist or contact one of our online experts.
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