In our last blog post, we discussed some of the major ways smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco negatively affect your oral health, like by increasing your risk of developing periodontal disease and oral cancer. Now that you have a solid understanding of how these carcinogens attack the oral cavity, let’s dive into some of the other dental problems associated with tobacco use. Continue reading to learn more, and book your next dental exam today at Trillium Dental in Ottawa to experience the difference of compassionate family dental care.
LOOSE OR MISSING TEETH
Tobacco users are at a heightened risk of losing their teeth, which is a common symptom of periodontitis, or late-stage gum disease. The gums play a vital role in holding the teeth in their proper position, and when inflamed gums swell up, become infected, and pull away from the teeth, this can cause them to loosen, then fall out over time. Some of the most obvious signs of gum disease include sensitive, swollen, or bleeding gums, as well as larger tooth gaps and longer-looking teeth with exposed tooth roots. Eventually, if you are suffering from gum disease or oral cancer and do not seek medical treatment, these teeth will likely fall out due to the decaying structure in the underlying jawbone, which is responsible for supporting the entire oral cavity.
Often, smokers and tobacco chewers will show early signs of tooth decay, such as grey or black spots appearing on the surface where the tooth enamel has been eaten away by plaque, tartar, and acid buildup along the gumline. As mentioned in part one of this blog series, the chemicals in cigarettes and chewing tobacco accelerate the process of tooth deterioration, as they feast on the teeth and gums in much the same way that sugar does. In many cases, this leads to dark tooth discoloration, which can only be remedied with teeth whitening gel, porcelain veneers, dental crowns, or even dental implants, depending on the circumstance (and the remaining jawbone structure). Smokers are especially at risk of developing this kind of tooth discoloration, as the carcinogenic chemicals in tobacco products leave a dark trail behind when frequently consumed.
TOOTHACHES & JAW PAIN
Obviously, you’ll experience some pain if your teeth are decaying, loose, or falling out altogether. Gum disease and oral cancer are largely to blame for this, as these oral diseases degrade the jawbone, teeth, and oral tissue supporting the mouth in what can only be described as a long, painful process if proper dental care is not sought out. In addition to the sores and mouth ulcers that tobacco users experience during the early stages of oral cancer, persistent toothaches, jaw pain, and sore gums are other painful consequences of smoking. Smokers may also experience bad breath and an unpleasant taste in their mouth that doesn’t go away with normal brushing and flossing, which goes hand-in-hand with oral infections, tooth decay, and unfortunately, a great deal of pain if this goes untreated.
BOOK A DENTAL EXAM AT OUR FAMILY DENTAL CLINIC IN OTTAWA
At the end of the day, the best way to avoid developing oral cancer, gum disease, tooth decay, and other painful dental problems is to maintain good oral hygiene habits — and to quit smoking. If you need help quitting smoking, check out these resources from the Canadian Cancer Society, and be sure to visit our Ottawa dental clinic for regular teeth cleanings and oral cancer screenings at least twice per year. Feel free to contact us to answer any questions you have about your oral health, or book an appointment online at Trillium Dental in Ottawa.