Smoking affects a smoker’s teeth in many ways beyond the aesthetics. Most of us know that smoking causes yellowing in teeth from the constant staining of smoke and the filter in cigarettes, but what other affects does smoking have on a smoker’s teeth?
Smoking causes teeth and gums to become more susceptible to infection and disease, since smoking affects a smoker’s immune system in general, making it weaker in fighting off harmful bacteria in the body, including the mouth. Smokers get to enjoy gingivitis and other gum diseases, which can cause teeth to become weak in the roots and eventually cause tooth loss. Smoking also encourages plaque buildup, that nasty smelling white substance that builds on most peoples’ teeth when they don’t brush and floss and get their teeth professionally cleaned regularly. Smokers are twice as likely to develop plaque, even with regular dental care, than non-smokers, since they are allowing bacteria to build in their mouth when they light up, inviting plaque and gum disease right on in.
Smokers are more likely to lose their teeth because the constant smoking and bacteria buildup weakens the teeth at the roots, causing them to become loose and possibly even fall out over time. Also, since more bacteria is allowed to grow happily on a smoker’s teeth, in general smokers have weaker teeth that are more vulnerable to chipping, cavities, and gum diseases which can lead to tooth decay and receding gums.
While a smoker can use mouthwashes designed to help whisk away the yellowing in their teeth so they appear healthier, the more dangerous side effects of smoking on the teeth are the risks of gum disease, weak tooth enamel, and possible tooth loss. Doesn’t sound like such a great reason to light up.