New York Dental Astoria - Blog

Tips, tricks and suggestions about oral health.

How Smoking Affects Your Oral Health

No conversation about smoking ever ends on a positive note. This nasty, addictive habit is just flat-out bad for you. There's simply no way to sugar coat things.
But, that doesn't mean that you can't take ownership of the problem and do something about it.

If you live anywhere in New York State, you've probably seen the graphic public service ads on TV, urging you to quit smoking before it's too late.

The images of men and women who had throat or mouth cancer, linger in the mind, for awhile, after you've seen one of those commercials.

There are also posters everywhere, in the subways, on buses and on billboards giving you information on government sponsored programs and patches that can help you end the addictive cycle of tobacco smoking.

But, let's keep things real. You smoke and you already know that it's not the best thing in the world for you.
You're sick and tired hearing your friends and family lecture you about the evils of smoking. If you've tried to give up smoking before and failed, don't worry about it. You are not alone. Regroup and learn from experience. Give it another go. You CAN and you WILL do this.

After all, suffering through the symptoms of tobacco withdrawal is a heck of a lot better than the alternatives, which can include lung cancer, respiratory disease, as well as increased risk of heart attack and stroke. It is SO not worth it.

Did you know, however, that tobacco can seriously affect your oral health and every day quality of life ?

Not getting many dates on because those photos you post on the site, show off, not just your sexy eyes, but those nicotine stained teeth ?
Has your dentist told you that, if you're a smoker, you are a leading candidate for developing gum disease, which can result in decay, inflammation, infection and tooth loss ?
Smoking is also one of the biggest causes on bad breath. Now, that will put a negative spin on both your social and professional life.

When you smoke or chew tobacco, the threat of developing oral cancer is always lurking in the background. So, don't be surprised if your dentist asks you to come in for check-ups, more than twice per year. A timely oral cancer screening can save your life.
Oral cancer's breeding ground is everywhere in your mouth. It can develop, not just on your gums or palate ( the roof of your mouth), but on the lips, cheeks, tongue and throat, as well.

Cigarettes, pipes, cigars and pouch tobacco are responsible for a host of unpleasant oral health issues. Tobacco products can actually affect a person's sense of smell and taste. Your ability to heal after having oral surgery is also seriously compromised , whether you've had a tooth extracted or a root canal. Tobacco use adversely affects the flow of blood to your gums.

Dental implants are famous for having a high rate of success. But not if you're a heavy smoker. Use of tobacco leads to bone loss in your jaw area. Smoking and the chemicals that are found in tobacco directly interferes with the bone and soft tissue that is attached to your teeth.

Let's talk about Leukoplakia. This is a medical condition that you do not want to have to deal with. This condition manifests itself as a tiny white lesion or patch that appears on the inside of your mouth, usually on the cheeks or under the tongue, at the bottom of your mouth. 

Leukoplakia results from a change in diet or it can be a side effect from medicine that you're taking. Smoking, though, is the number one cause of this annoying and irritable condition.

These white patches can be unsightly, but they are usually not dangerous. But, just to be sure, your dentist will keep a vigilant eye on them ,over time. He or she will ,probably, swab the lesion with medicine.

Please be aware ,though, that sometimes, cancers will develop next to a leukoplakia lesion. It's not commonplace, but, unfortunately, it does happen.

When you smoke, you've got to double-down on your daily oral hygiene routine. Tobacco causes a tremendous build-up of tartar and plaque on your teeth.
Even the most high-end and expensive over the counter whitening products won't be of much help in making those disgusting brown and yellow stains vanish.

Your dentist and hygienist will have their work cut out for them ,as well. To have any shot at removing those stubborn stains, you will probably have to go through a series of budget busting and time consuming professional cleaning and whitening treatments.

Just look at the bright side, however, if you give up that two-pack a day habit, you'll be saving a ton of cash and, perhaps, your life, as well. Now, that's a deal worth considering.

Got your attention? Great ! Now, we can talk about ways that you can either cut down on smoking or give it up completely.

Once you have made up your mind to quit smoking, you will do it. There may be a few false starts and setbacks along the way, but you'll come out on top. Tobacco is no match for you.

Your dentist is an excellent resource for tips on how to stop reaching for those cigarettes. He or she can suggest over the counter remedies like nicotine gum and the patch. There are certain brands of toothpaste and mouthwash that are designed specifically for smokers. Your dental professional can even prescribe certain medicines that can help you deal with your craving for tobacco.

Reach out to friends and co-workers who have gone through what you are doing. They can provide emotional support and real-life experience when it comes to trying to quit smoking.
It's also worth checking in with your neighborhood hospital's community outreach office. Hospitals often hold special seminars on giving up tobacco use. Talk with the human resources person at your job. Many of the large insurance companies are more than happy to send experts to their clients' office to talk with the employees about wellness and preventive measures to safeguard their health. Giving up tobacco is certainly a topic that your insurance company has a strong interest in helping you with.

Whatever you do and however strong a person you think you are, don't attempt to quit smoking entirely by yourself. Partner up with your dentist and use him as a sounding board for this ambitious life journey you are about to embark on. 

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