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What smoking does to your gums and teeth

What smoking does to your gums and teeth
What smoking does to your gums and teeth

By now, we’re all well aware of the devastating toll that smoking can take on our bodies – from increasing the risk of lung diseases and diabetes to causing chronic bronchitis and high blood pressure.

But when was the last time you stopped and thought about how cigarettes could be affecting your oral health?

Many people aren’t even aware of the effects that smoking can have on their teeth and gums. 

Which is why, in honour of this year’s national ‘no smoking day’, our expert dentists here at Bow Lane have decided to share exactly what can happen – as well as some top tips to help you nip your bad habit in the bud and take back control of your oral health.

How long does it take for smoking to affect teeth?

The answer to this question depends on a couple of different things – including the state of your current oral health and how often you light up.

However, within a week of starting smoking, most people will start to notice significant changes to their teeth and gums, and that their oral health is visibly compromised. Some people may even notice negative effects after their very first cigarette.

Of course, the longer you continue to smoke, the more your oral health will decline, and the more you risk developing some serious issues with your teeth and gums.

But what kind of oral health problems have been linked to smoking?

Plaque and tartar

Tobacco cigarettes are notorious for causing dry mouths. From smoking your very first cigarette, it can compromise your ability to produce saliva – which plays an important part in keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

This is because it works to neutralise the acids and wash away the bacteria that live in your mouth. Without it, or enough of it, bacteria can easily attach themselves to the teeth and gums, making tooth decay, gum recession, and gum disease a likely possibility as you continue smoking.

Gum disease and tooth loss

Plaque is one of the leading causes of gum disease – which happens to be the leading cause of tooth loss. As you continue smoking, the bacteria may cause your gums to start pulling away from your teeth (known as gum recession), leaving small spaces or ‘pockets’ for even more plaque to accumulate.

Over time, these pockets can continue to deepen, eventually weakening the tissues and bones that protect your teeth and keep them in place.

If you notice a build-up of plaque on your teeth or any other problems like receding gums, book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. 

Oral cancer

The most severe risk associated with smoking tobacco cigarettes is oral cancer.

If you smoke, you’re ten times more likely to develop oral cancer than someone who doesn’t smoke at all. Whilst many oral cancers are treatable, you should still visit your dentist at least twice a year for check-ups, as this could catch the problem before it gets any worse.

As they say – prevention is the best cure.

Will my oral health improve if I quit smoking?

Whilst ditching the cigarettes won’t magically erase all of the problems they’ve caused, it will reduce your risk of developing gum disease and your teeth falling out, and improve how your mouth responds to gum treatments, including for mouth cancer.

What are the best ways to quit smoking?

Lots of ex-smokers were able to quit smoking with nothing but sheer willpower, but others aren’t so lucky and need something to help them along the way.

There are lots of support options available, including stop-smoking aids like nicotine patches and gum, as well as e-cigarettes – which are substantially less harmful to your teeth and gums than cigarettes.

Alongside any of these methods, attending counselling sessions can also be a huge help.

Contact the team at Bow Lane

There’s no time like the present when it comes to quitting smoking and improving your oral health.

Whether you need a simple professional clean to remove stubborn plaque, more intense treatment for gum disease in London, or information on how to stop receding gums, we’re here for you.

To book a consultation with our expert practitioners here at Bow Lane Dental, call 020 7236 3600, or head over to our online booking system to view available appointment times!

We look forward to meeting you and finding out more about how we can help.

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020 7236 3600

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