Time to Call it Quits – 4 Key Ways That Smoking Affects Your Oral Health

In light of ‘National No Smoking Day’ that’s held in the UK on the second Wednesday in March every year, we thought we’d get on board and show our support by focusing on the dangers that tobacco poses to our oral health. By now, most people are already aware of the dangers that smoking can have on the body – but here are four ways that that smoking affects your oral health too:

  1. Smokers are 7 to 10 times more likely to develop oral cancer

Thousands of chemicals are contained in just a single cigarette and the main point of entry is the mouth, so smoking can damage soft tissue cells inside the mouth and cause cancer. While oral cancer can affect anyone, around 91% of diagnoses are directly linked to lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol use and diet. But this means that it’s also the most preventable as long as you take action to kick these habits. By quitting smoking today you could reduce your risk of oral cancer by more than a third – it’s never too late to make a difference.

  1. Smokers are 50% more likely to suffer from gum disease

Much research has been carried out which shows that smoking has a direct link to an increased risk of infection – including gum disease. Smoking is believed to cause an increase in tartar build-up (a hardened form of plaque) on the teeth which attacks the gums. What’s more, because smokers have lower levels of oxygen in their bloodstream, this significantly slows down the natural healing process. So when the gums of a smoker do become infected, the chances are they’re less likely to be able to fight the problem naturally.

  1. Bad breath

It comes as no surprise that smokers are much more likely to suffer from bad breath than non-smokers are. Smoking dries out the mouth leaving a lack of saliva, which alone is a major cause of bad breath. But aside from a dry mouth, the nicotine and tar contained within cigarettes can collect on the surface of the mouth and permeate the oral cavities, leaving you dealing with what’s often called ‘smoker’s breath.’ That’s not all, another factor of bad breath is often caused by gum issues, cavities, mouth sores and other negative health effects that come along with smoking.

  1. Discoloured teeth

This is the most obvious and visible effect of smoking. Yellow stained teeth come about as tobacco sticks to the surface of the teeth and become difficult to remove. Over time, this will cause your teeth to look heavily stained. While the hygienist or even tooth whitening treatments might help hold any discolouration at bay for a while, it’s impossible to eliminate all the staining effects completely if you continue to smoke.

It’s no secret that smoking has harmful and long-lasting effects on both your oral health and overall wellbeing. So whether you’re a chain smoker or just an occasional smoker, it’s important to understand the harmful effects that tobacco can have on your body – which certainly makes quitting smoking a worthwhile goal. To find out more or for help quitting, call our team at 44 Dental Care on 0116 251 9647. Let’s work together to improve your overall and oral health today.