Your teeth are vital for eating, allowing you to chew your food. They’re also an important part of your appearance, as your pearly whites are the first thing people notice in your smile. When you smoke, both your smile and ability to eat are affected by long-term tobacco use.
At Silver Lake Dentistry, located in Raymore, Missouri, our team offers expert dental care when your smile is suffering. Our dentists, Dr. Joshua Whitford and Dr. Jessica Whitford, are both specialists when it comes to your teeth. They help you regain your dental health after you quit smoking.
How smoking affects your teeth
When you light a cigarette, you’re likely not thinking of your teeth. However, as soon as you inhale and exhale that first puff, you’re doing immediate damage to your mouth in many different ways.
The most obvious issue that arises with smoking is discoloration of your teeth. This happens because of the tar and nicotine in the cigarette itself. Yellow stains turn up after a short time when you smoke. Other ways smoking affects your teeth include:
- Contributes to bad breath
- Increases risk of mouth cancer
- Raises risk of bone loss in the jaw
- Contributes to plaque buildup
- Slows healing abilities after procedures
You may also notice white patches inside of your mouth, which is called leukoplakia. Increased tartar and plaque buildup contributes to cavities and possible tooth loss in severe cases.
Does smoking take a toll on your gums?
Your gums are also at risk when you smoke. This is because smoking weakens your immune system, which allows bacteria to build on your gums. This often leads to gum disease.
If you end up with a gum infection, your lowered immune system from smoking makes it more difficult for your gums to heal. This can lead to problems with the bone structures around your teeth.
How do you know if you have gum disease? There are a number of signs and symptoms associated with gum issues, including:
- Sensitive teeth
- Bleeding gums
- Tender gums
- Pain when chewing
Your teeth may also be loose, because gum disease can cause your gums to move away from your teeth. Gingivitis and periodontitis are both forms of gum disease. Untreated gingivitis leads to more severe gum disease, which is periodontitis.
You can also end up losing your teeth from untreated gum disease. If the plaque and tartar build up and lead to cavities and infections, it’s very possible for you to lose several teeth from smoking.
Is there anything you can do for your teeth?
The best thing you can do to keep your teeth and smile healthy is quit smoking, or at least cut back. But even if you quit, some of the damage is already done. There are ways, though, for you to regain your dental health, which include:
- See the dentist regularly
- Brush thoroughly twice a day
- Floss at least once a day
- Use antibacterial mouthwash
If you’re concerned about the discoloration of your teeth, our team offers in-office whitening to help you improve your smile. They also provide expert care for your gums if you’re dealing with periodontal disease.
When smoking has caused you to lose your teeth, our team offers both dentures or dental implants to restore your smile.
If you’re in need of expert dental care or teeth whitening, call our office in Raymore, Missouri, today to schedule an appointment. You may also book a consultation using our convenient online scheduling tool.