Smoking affects oral health too.
While it is widely understood that smoking and nicotine cause a range of medical problems and diseases, it is likely that fewer of us know about the damage caused to the mouth, teeth and gums.
Staining is caused directly from the nicotine and tar in tobacco. The teeth look yellow, and can even become brown in heavy smokers.
Even today, gum disease is the most common reason for losing a tooth. Smoking, by lowering the concentration of oxygen in the bloodstream, compromises the health of the gums.
The mouth contains many types of bacteria that are entirely normal and natural, however, they multiply more rapidly when the blood oxygen levels are low. Present in greater numbers, they consequently produce more plaque. Unless removed with careful brushing and flossing, plaque will harden into calculus (or tartar). This tough build-up irritates the gums, resulting in inflammation which is the body’s natural response to injury. Optimal levels of oxygen in the bloodstream are important to support this healing process. Every cigarette reduces blood oxygen, and thus delays healing.
Smoking is a leading cause of certain mouth cancers.