It is well-known that smoking tobacco can seriously damage a smoker’s lungs and lead to a variety of health problems. Many people do not realize that smoking can seriously affect a person’s oral health as well. There are some things smokers should know about visiting the dentist, switching to smokeless tobacco, and how to avoid oral health problems.
Oral Health Problems Associated with Smoking
The oral health problems that can go hand in hand with smoking are numerous. To start, smoking can cause bad breath, stained teeth, and an increased risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease presents its own set of problems. Inflamed gums are painful, may bleed, and can result in tooth loss. Other problems smokers may encounter are an increased risk of developing complications after oral surgery or tooth extractions, an increased build-up of tartar and plaque, and a loss of taste. Cancer and smoking are linked. Not only are the lungs at risk of developing cancer, but the mouth is at larger risk, too.
Visiting the Dentist as a Smoker
It is important for smokers to let their dentists know about their smoking habits. Dentists are trained to look for the signs of oral cancer and other problems smokers are at a higher risk to develop. Dentists, like Dr. Smith in Bryant, AR, also need to know if their patients smoke before any dental surgery. It can be harder for smokers to heal after surgery. People who smoke need to visit their dentists regularly to keep their gums and teeth clean and as healthy as possible. Any problems a smoker experiences in regard to the mouth should be addressed to a dentist as quickly as possible.
Will Smokeless Tobacco Eliminate Oral Health Problems?
Some smokers think that switching to a smokeless tobacco can be safer for them. This is not true. Products like chewing tobacco and snuff have the same chemicals as cigarettes and cigars, giving the user of smokeless tobacco an increased risk of developing oral or esophageal cancer. Smokeless tobacco products contain higher amounts of nicotine, making quitting even harder. There are no real benefits to a person’s health when switching from cigarettes or cigars to smokeless tobacco products.
How to Avoid Oral Health Problems
The best way to avoid oral health problems related to smoking is to quit smoking and using tobacco products altogether. While quitting may be difficult, it is not impossible. If a person finds quitting too difficult to get through, a doctor can help the person to find ways to quit.
Smoking comes with many risks, including developing oral health problems. Seeing a dentist regularly can help smokers to stay healthy, but quitting using tobacco products altogether is the first choice smokers should make when trying to take better care of their oral health.