This month doctors, dentists, pharmacies and others in the healthcare sector have been helping people all over the UK to give up smoking as part of the Government’s ‘Stoptober’ campaign. Whilst the impact of smoking on the heath has received much publicity over recent years, the damage that smoking does to your teeth and gums receives much less attention. So just what does smoking do to your teeth and gums?
With every cigarette you smoke, you are introducing nicotine and tar to your teeth. Both of these substances have a very strong staining effect. It can quickly cause visible changes to the appearance of your teeth. Even after a relatively short time of smoking, smokers can often see a noticeable yellow staining of the teeth. With prolonged or heavy smoking, the staining will get progressively worse and in some cases leave the teeth almost brown. Whilst there are a number of consumer products on the market which claim to remove such staining, the only safe and truly effective remedy is professional cleaning and whitening by a qualified dental expert, which can be an expensive process.
Whilst most people know what saliva is in a general sense, few people know a lot about what saliva is comprised of, why we need it and how it works. Saliva is mostly water, but also contains a number of important proteins and minerals that help to protect tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay and gum disease. One of the ways it achieves this is by reducing the acidity level in the mouth. A healthy body makes between 2 – 4 pints of saliva a day. Smoking causes inflammation of the salivary glands located in the roof of the mouth. Consequently depriving your teeth and gums of this essential protection mechanism.
Plaque is a sticky, colourless film of bacteria that forms over the teeth. It is responsible for that ‘furry’ feeling you experience if you do not brush your teeth for any prolonged period of time. The bacteria in this film produce acids which eat away at your tooth enamel and cause decay. In some cases, the damage can extend into the roots, causing considerable discomfort and damage. When plaque is allowed to stay in your teeth, it can harden into tartar. Tartar forms above and below the gumline and can cause many gum problems. It can only be removed by a dentist with specialist apparatus – brushing will not remove it.
As well as causing several direct problems to your teeth and gums, there are also many indirect effects of smoking. One important effect of smoking is that it introduces carbon monoxide, which attaches to the blood cells and restricts the ability of your blood to carry oxygen to the parts of the body that need it. It is not just your vital organs that are affected by this. Reduced oxygen can cause a significant delay in healing. This includes healing after dental surgery such as tooth extraction or periodontal treatment. Not only can smoking cause you to require surgery – it can also prolong the healing process afterwards.
Making the decision to stop smoking is the single best way to protect your teeth from the many harmful and potentially expensive effects that smoking causes. With so much support available, Stoptober is a great time to make the commitment and give up for good. Whether you are a smoker or have recently stopped, it is essential that you visit your dentist and dental hygienist, who will be able to offer you the best treatment and advice to keep your teeth in the best possible condition, as well as discuss cosmetic solutions such as tooth whitening to restore your shine and help you reclaim your smile.
For more information about how Perfect Profiles can help you restore your smile, give us a call on Luton 01582 518 100 or Wolverhampton 01902 500 823. Alternatively, enquire online for a swift response.