Smoking and Oral Health: What You Need to Know
No Smoking Day was founded in 1984 as a way to help inform people about the dangers of smoking, and to encourage people to quit. By now it is well known that smoking is bad for oral health, but what exactly does it do to your mouth? Read on to find out how your oral health is affected by smoking, what to do if you haven’t yet quit, and to find motivation to stop smoking this March 9th!
Smoking promotes the overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth, and reduces the production of saliva which is needed to help wash bacteria from the mouth!
Tar and nicotine have been shown to stain teeth, and can cause both overall yellowing and areas with darker, brown stains, especially between the teeth.
Restricted blood vessels as a result of nicotine intake can cause problems in diagnosis, too, as gums are less likely to bleed, making it harder for a dentist to spot the warning signs of gum disease.
What Should You Do if You Still Smoke?
Many smokers will underreport their smoking habits when speaking to oral health practitioners due to feelings of guilt for doing something they know is bad for them. If this resonates with you, remember that healthcare professionals are there to help you, and that the more honest you are about your habits the better able they will be to advise you on your individual needs. Smokers have different oral health needs than non-smokers, so it’s important to know how to help mitigate the effects of smoking!
Smokers should use mouthwash more regularly to help clean out gritty particles and plaque-forming bacteria. Choose an effective alcohol-based mouthwash and give your mouth a rinse after smoking whenever possible to help maintain fresh breath and a clean mouth. However, it’s important to remember that this is not a long-term solution, as using mouthwash can also mask the symptoms of more serious problems in the mouth, such as gum disease.
Some dentists advise a quick brush after every cigarette to clean the surface of the teeth from tar and tobacco residues to help to avoid staining. Keeping a travel toothbrush on your person can help you to remember to quickly clean your teeth after smoking. Check out our Sonisk Pulse portable sonic toothbrush, the neat travel cap will help to keep it hygienic so that you can carry it in your bag or pocket for easy, convenient use after smoking.
Floss, Floss, Floss!
Everyone should floss, but smokers especially so! Flossing between teeth after brushing helps to reduce the buildup of calculus. Keep an eye out for any bleeding of the gums when you floss, as this could be a sign of the onset of gum disease!