It’s no secret that smoking or chewing tobacco is bad for you. And although vaping is better, using nicotine is still unhealthy. But did you know that using tobacco products can be bad for your dental health as well?
Call our Birmingham, MI dental office today at 248-972-8720 to make your next appointment for a dental exam. Dr. Newingham is your Birmingham dentist with the training and experience needed to spot problems like oral cancer, gum disease, and more that come with using tobacco.
Oral Cancer Is Just One Problem
The biggest problem you face when using tobacco products is oral cancer. Dr. Newingham can examine the inside of your mouth during a dental exam for any signs of oral cancer and help you get the treatment you need. However, that’s not the only thing you have to worry about.
– You have less saliva, increasing your risk of cavities and gum disease
Nicotine and smoke (even vapors) make it harder for your mouth to produce saliva. That’s a problem because saliva helps wash away food particles. Whenever you eat, some tiny bits get stuck to your teeth and gums. These feed the bacteria behind cavities and gum disease, making those dental problems more likely.
– Tobacco often has grit that can wear down your enamel
Because tobacco is grown in soil, harvesting it leaves behind a tiny amount of grit in products like chewing tobacco and cigars. Even the best processing will leave some grit in these. This amount is normally too small to notice, but it’s still there. The grit scrapes against your teeth (especially if you’re using chewing tobacco), creating worn spots on your teeth that weaken them.
– You heal slowly, so recovering from cut gums or oral surgery will take more time
Oral surgery is sometimes the only way to keep your smile healthy. For example, a severely damaged tooth might need to be replaced or it’s just going to keep hurting you until it gets infected. Your body will need time to heal after oral surgery, but when you use tobacco products, it heals much more slowly.
The same is true for cutting your gums, and not just through an injury. If your gums are sore, you can cut them by brushing and flossing. Bacteria can infect your gums through these cuts, and if you use tobacco, the cuts will stay open much longer.
– Your smile gets stained and turns brownish or yellow
Tobacco does more than just affect your dental health. It also affects how your smile looks. Although you might have had some nice-looking, white teeth before you started using tobacco, chances are, your smile looks much darker now. That’s because tobacco leaves behind tiny stains on your enamel that add up over the years. By now, your smile can look yellow or brown instead of white.
– Your gums are irritated by tobacco, increasing your risk of gum disease
Any kind of tobacco product is used in the mouth. That means the smoke, chew, or vapor will wrap around your gums and irritate them. As the gum tissue gets damaged this way, you get sore, tender gums and can even see some bleeding after brushing. All of that is a sign of gum disease, which can lead to lost teeth.
What You Can Do
Quit Smoking (Or Chewing)
This is hard to do, but it’s the most powerful way you can help your smile. By giving up all tobacco use, you can stop staining your teeth, damaging your enamel, and increasing your chances of oral cancer. There are many programs out there to help you give it up, so start with one today.
Visit Our Birmingham, MI Dental Office Regularly
While you work on giving up tobacco, please come see our Birmingham dentist every six months at the least. This way, you can get dental treatments like teeth whitening, dental crowns, and more to help alleviate the damage you’re doing to your smile.
Keep Brushing & Flossing Every Day
Tobacco weakens your teeth and increases your risk of gum disease. That means it’s more important than ever to keep brushing and flossing regularly. You need to give your teeth and gums all the help and care they can get.