Over the past few decades, the public has become increasingly aware of the adverse effects of tobacco in any form or consumption.
Anyone who chews or smokes tobacco is at increased risk for various types of cancers, high blood pressure, and other health conditions.
What about your oral health? Smoking can stain your teeth, but is this the only way it affects your mouth?
We’ll look at how smoking (and even vaping) can impact your oral health, and steps you can take to quit smoking for good.
How Smoking Impacts Your Oral Health
Smoking is horrible for every part of your body, including your teeth, gums, and anti-aging prevention.
Bacteria-filled plaque sticks to tobacco stains, making it more difficult to remove. Therefore, smokers are at higher risk for decay and periodontal disease.
Additionally, smokers often experience a diminished sense of taste and an increase in periodontal disease. Smoking can even reduce the body’s ability to heal, which can make dental implant surgery a tricky endeavor.
Smokers are also at increased risk for developing oral cancer. It isn’t just tobacco chewers who are at risk. The chemicals in cigarettes, cigars, and pipes can lead to cancer as well.
But I Vape – My Oral Health Isn’t at Risk, Right?
Smoking is a hard habit to break, especially because of the addictive ingredients. Plus, smoking is often used as a way to relax or to fill the time when you’re bored.
Smokers were elated, then, when e-cigarettes came onto the market. It seemed like a healthier alternative or even a stepping stone to giving up tobacco completely.
But people are finding that vaping can be nearly as addicting as smoking itself.
Recent studies have even found e-cigarettes can leak toxic metals.
How does vaping impact your teeth and gums?
If you vape, you’re at a higher risk of developing gum disease. The reason for this is due to the ingestion of nicotine.
Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it restricts blood flow. Blood flow is essential for any tissue in the body to be healthy – including those in the oral cavity. Without proper blood flow, oxygen and nutrients aren’t able to nourish the tissues.
This is just one of the causes of gum disease. Add to the lack of adequate home care or regular dental cleanings and the progression of periodontal disease can be swift.
Left untreated, gum disease can lead to infections and the loss of teeth.
4 Steps You Can Implement Today to Quit Smoking or Vaping
If you’re a smoker or vaper, you are probably well aware of how difficult they are to give up. But there are some steps you can take to quit once and for all.
1. Set a Date to Quit
The very first thing you need to do is set a quit date and stick with it. Make sure there are no tobacco or vaping products in your home if possible. And get excited about your quit date. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself you give up before you even start.
2. Get as Much Support as Possible
Tell everyone you can about your goal to quit smoking/vaping. This can be scary because we never want to appear foolish or weak if we relapse. But it’s the support you get from others which will carry you through difficult days.
3. Find a Helpful Medication
There are a number of OTC and prescription medications which can help with smoking cessation. Discuss them with your doctor, especially if you have a history of depression.
4. Prepare for Setbacks
Inevitably, with any goal we have, setbacks will happen. Habits are difficult to break, especially ones which have an addictive quality or we have an emotional attachment to.
“The best thing you can do is have a plan of action” states dentist in Puyallup, Dr. Kwon. When setbacks occur, what will you do to get up, dust yourself off, and keep on your no smoking path?
Think about steps you can take ahead of time. Then, when setbacks occur, they won’t feel quite as devastating or overwhelming.
We’re Your Partners in Health and Want the Very Best for You
To that end, we will support and encourage you, in addition to providing helpful tips to assist you in reaching your goals.
Contact us, we’re excited to support you in any way we can!