Smoking and Oral Health

It is a well-known fact that smoking can cause a myriad of health issues. You have probably seen the warning label on cigarette packages: “Smoking is harmful”. When you see this label, the chances are that the smoke-related diseases that come to mind are lung cancer and emphysema. Nicotine increases the heart rate and can create positive mood swings, but when the nicotine effects wear off you will be left with a terribly anxious feeling, prompting you to light another cigarette. This has lead us to believe that tobacco products are highly addictive, but how does smoking affect your oral health?

The nicotine in tobacco products acts on the blood in your body and reduces the blood flow to the gum and bones by contracting the blood vessels. A decreased blood supply disguises the signs of diseases, as well as undermines the body’s ability to fight infections. Nicotine also affects the saliva in your mouth, by promoting the formation of thicker mucous which is counterproductive when it comes to combating acid attacks after eating.

The other chemicals in tobacco products combine with plaque bacteria, creating a dangerous union. If you fail to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine, the bone that supports your teeth with begin to shrink away from the tooth root, resulting in periodontal disease and tooth loss.

The best way to prevent the adverse effects of tobacco is to quit smoking. But for an average smoker, quitting is not the easiest task, and it is certainly not something that can happen overnight. Therefore, if you are serious about your oral health and would like to quit smoking, contact a dentist in Cape Town today.