You Eat With That Mouth?

Smoking Cigarettes Will Make You Sick

When you consider the overall effects of cigarette smoking upon a person's health and wellness, the possibilities can be frightening. There have been more than 4,000 chemicals identified in cigarettes, and of those, 200 are poisonous. We know there are many different cancers associated with tobacco and the health risk for other diseases is equally great. At present, cigarette smoking has a positive association with nearly 40 diseases and causes of death (it is a cause) and it is negatively associated with close to ten (it is a factor).

Smoking And Periodontal Disease

Along with the commonly known oral diseases associated with cancer, there has been a rise in awareness of the effect of smoking on dental and gum health. Smoking is a major cause of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is another name for gum disease and is the primary reason adults lose their teeth. Left untreated, periodontal disease not only empties a mouth of teeth, but can also be the cause of even more life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, respiratory problems, and diabetes.

It begins with bacteria, plaque, and tartar building up around the teeth. If this is not removed, it eats away at the gums and bone, gradually eroding away the foundation of the teeth. It causes bad breath, inflammation, bleeding gums and infection. Smoking affects the immune response and changes antibody production, leaving the mouth more susceptible to infection and inflammation. The chemicals and toxins in cigarettes inhibit healing and cause oral infection to be more prolonged and harder to heal. Smokers are at an increased risk of dental implant failure as well. Marginal bone loss around implants makes it much more difficult to ensure success. They also suffer increased bleeding when dental work is done.

Nicotine constricts blood vessels in the gums leading to gum disease. Other tobacco products can cause problems as well. Smokeless tobacco can cause the gums to recede resulting in exposed tissue and bone loss. Even nicotine gum, used as part of smoking cessation programs, can be a culprit in periodontal disease.

Other Oral Cavity Conditions Caused By Smoking

Cigarette smoking is associated with a number of different oral cavity changes besides gum disease. It has an effect on the bacteria and fungi in the mouth-particularly the Candida species which causes oral candidiasis. Oral Candida sometimes disappears when the person stops smoking. Hairy tongue, or black hairy tongue, is an oral lesion that gives the tongue a furry appearance. The condition is associated with heavy smoking.

Loss of Teeth, Smell, And Taste

Smokers tend to have discolored teeth to an extent that is far worse than the discoloration associated with tea and coffee drinking. Professional whitening may lessen nicotine stains but the stains are often permanent. Smoking causes halitosis (bad breath) and it also decreases the ability to smell. Taste perception is diminished with smoking and is linked to the loss of the sense of smell.