Every smoker should know Christopher Columbus. He was the man who discovered tobacco and introduced it to the world. Every smoker should also know about the impact of smoking on his oral health. Recent studies have been disturbing. So far you have heard every physician patiently telling you to cut down or give up smoking because “It is bad for your health”. You stifle a yawn, you have heard it all too often.
Here is the doctor’s file on the effects of smoking.
Cigarette smoking is related to lung cancer, cancer of the gullet and bladder. Cigarette smoking is the most important cause of chronic bronchitis. Smokers have a higher death rate from heart disease than non-smokers. Pipe smoking seems related to lip cancer. As if all this were not enough to set the alarm bells ringing the dentist has now stepped into the picture with revelations about smoking and oral health. Yes, you guessed right – smoking is bad for the teeth as well. It is usual for the dentist to warn patients about the risk of getting white patches in the mouth that could lead to oral cancer. In every day practice, however, what dentists really see most frequently are the major consequences of smoking and gum disease.
Studies done in the 1970s showed that the effects of smoking or gum diseases were not so serious and were mostly due to poor oral hygiene in general among smokers. A decade later in the 1980s with increasingly sophisticated methods, it was found that smoking had a direct independent association with gum diseases.
Researches found that smoking caused a greater loss in the bone that supports the teeth. In smokers teeth got looser faster and there is greater incidence of receding gums.
In a very recent study these early studies have been categorically proved beyond doubt. What happens and how:
In smokers more bone is lost with more smoking. The tooth supporting fibres and bone are affected but ht effect seems to be not local as one would imagine but by a systemic influence by altering the response of the root to disease. Even gum treatments are not very successful because of this altered response. Exposing the mouth to years of tobacco use causes gum disease, cavities of the tooth surface and root surface and subsequent tooth loss. Smokers generally have reduced saliva that is, the mouth is generally dry. This dryness allows plaque and bacteria to adhere to the teeth better and thus sets the stage the disease.
Research suggests that smoking has a biologic effect on bone tissue and may be the cause of decreased calcium absorption. In effect in ageing smokers the mineral content of bone is reduced. Looked at objectivity, it is not surprising that smoking has such a devastating effect on oral tissues. With every puff a smoker inhales 2-4,000 chemicals in each 50mg inhalation.
Just look at the list of smoking associated oral diseases.
- Loss of appetite
- Delayed would healing
- Smokers palate (black patches on palate)
- Gum disease
- Bad breath
- Stains on teeth
- Altered taste and smell
- Dental caries
- White patches in mouth (leukoplakia)
- Chronical fungal infections
- Birth defects
- Oral cancer
A dozen problems. Life is complicated as it is. Why complicate it further? Your sanity and your teeth are at stake. Why not give up smoking today?