How Smoking Affects Teeth
A research team at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne studied cigarette smokers with chronic gum disease – which can lead to loss of teeth – over one year. They found some symptoms were more likely to improve in the people who quit during the study period. The research is published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.
The study, which is the first of its kind, followed 49 smokers with chronic gum disease over one year. One-fifth of the patients quit smoking, and in those patients, gum health was significantly improved compared to those who continued to smoke over the 12 months.
How Smoking affects Teeth
The following are some of the oral health risks that the study team summarized:
- Smokers are up to six times more vulnerable to gum disease than non-smokers.
- Smoking may depress the ability of the immune system to fight infection.
- Gum disease is initiated by a build up of bacteria in plaque, the sticky white substance that accumulates on the teeth if they are not properly cleaned. The bacteria cause the gums to become inflamed, and they begin to recede from the teeth.
- Smoking may turn teeth yellow by leaving sticky tar deposits which can also cause brown stains.
What can be done?
The best remedy to save your teeth from the harmful effects of smoking is to quit smoking. Meanwhile, you can do the following:
- Brush your teeth using an ultrasonic toothbrush 2 times a day, especially in the area where you chew, both before and after. Most importantly brush before you go to bed.
- Consult your dentist every 3 months to rule out oral cancer and for professional clean-ups.