Facts on Smoking and Your Oral Health
Smoking affects more than just your smile. Smoking…
- Reduces blood flow to the gums increasing the risk of bacterial infection.
- Increases the risk of developing destructive gum disease – almost three times higher than non-smokers.
- Causes the loss of two teeth every 10 years. If you start smoking a pack a day at age 18 you will lose between four and five teeth by age 35.
- Slows down the healing process for all types of oral treatment and surgery because of chemicals in cigarettes and reduced blood flow.
- Causes oral cancer four times more in smokers than non-smokers. The death rate from oral cancers (including cancers of the tongue, mouth and pharynx) exceed the death rate from cervical cancer.
- When combined with drinking alcohol accelerates the risk of oral cancer. Smokers who also drink are 15 to 38 times more likely to develop oral cancer than those who don’t do either.
- Secondhand smoke is linked to periodontal disease.
If the facts about oral health aren’t bad enough to encourage smokers to quit, in terms of vanity, the facts about deteriorating appearance aren’t any better. In addition to cavities, high levels of dental plaque, oral cancers, gum and bone disease, hygienists and dentists can pick out smokers by:
- Bad breath
- Discoloured teeth
- Mouth sores
- Smoker’s lip (looks like a burn)