ORLEANS AND OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Tobacco use have been linked to many diseases, including lung cancer, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, leukemia, cervical cancer and high cholesterol. It’s evident that smoking cigarettes affect numerous aspects of your health.

But how do tobacco products affect your oral health? We’ve got some answers for you.

You Could Lose Teeth

There are sometimes you’re prepared to lose teeth, like when you’re a young child or when you’re having your wisdom teeth removed. You shouldn’t worry about losing teeth when you’re an adult. Tobacco use increases your chances of losing teeth prematurely. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 41.3 percent of smokers older than 65 have missing teeth, while only 20 percent of nonsmokers older than 65 are toothless.

In Orleans, dental implants could help replace missing teeth. But smoking could even jeopardize this procedure, which brings us to our next point.

Your Mouth Will Be Weaker

Patients who smoke experience longer recovery times than nonsmokers. Smoking can make your healing time after the removal of wisdom teeth longer and more painful.

“Following periodontal treatment or any type of oral surgery, the chemicals in tobacco can slow down the healing process and make the treatment results less predictable,” the American Academy of Periodontology reports.

Smokers have more difficult recoveries after periodontal treatment than nonsmokers and even former smokers. The silver lining here is that you can quit smoking before attempting periodontal disease treatment to strengthen your mouth and gums. Patients who use tobacco also have higher risks of getting white sores in their mouths, called leukoplakia.

Your Senses Will Suffer

Tobacco use will hinder two of your five precious senses: taste and smell. Taste and smell are very closely related, and they both are dulled from tobacco use. Smoking can make your favorite food taste like cardboard. Or, put another way, after you quit smoking, those beloved tastes in your favorite meal will only get better and better. The Canadian Lung Association published a telling chart that shows the effects of kicking the habit over time. Your perceptions of taste and smell should improve after just 48 hours of quitting cigarettes according to the CLA.

Your Smile Will Be Less Attractive

Lighting up may seem cool, but causing stains on your own teeth isn’t. Tobacco users are sometimes given away by the color of their teeth. Cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco leave brown stains on teeth. These stains penetrate deep into your teeth, and they are difficult to remove. In Stittsville, cosmetic dentistry and tooth whitening can help improve tooth discoloration caused by tobacco, but if you keep smoking you risk negating all that great dental work. You’ll also experience more bad breath than nonsmokers.

You Have Higher Risks of Gum Disease and Cancer

Cigarette smokers build up more bacteria on their teeth, which means a higher risk of developing plaque and then gum disease. When plaque hardens, it becomes calculus. Calculus can only be removed from your teeth from a professional cleaning, which is one of the many reasons it’s important to keep regular dental appointments. Calculus that isn’t removed stays put, eating away your gum tissues. Eventually, your gums will pull away from your teeth and create small pockets. These pockets harbor bacteria that can ultimately eat away at your bones. Your dentist will be able to evaluate your mouth for early signs of gum disease. Your periodontist will suggest treatments to eradicate the bacteria and preserve your teeth and gums.

Tobacco contains chemicals that are known to cause cancer, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute and Kanata dentistry experts. Known carcinogens in tobacco include arsenic, vinyl chloride, cadmium, benzene and ethylene oxide. A few other harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke include ammonia, butane, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, lead, and acetone. Ammonia is commonly used in cleaning supplies. Butane is also called lighter fluid. Hydrogen cyanide is used as gas chamber poison. You probably know formaldehyde is used to embalm dead bodies. You get the picture.

The CLA reports 20 percent of Canadian teenagers are smokers. Smoking kills more than 45,000 people each year in Canada alone. Tobacco use can cause cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, jawbone loss and staining. If you or a loved one wants to quit smoking, refer to these helpful resources from Health Canada.