If you thought smoking merely causes bad breath and some tooth discoloration, think again. The effects of smoking on oral health go much deeper than these surface-level effects.
From increased risk of gum disease to bone loss in the jaw, smoking (whether it be from a pipe, cigar, cigarette, and even smokeless tobacco products) has serious effects of oral health, including and not limited to these factors listed by WebMD:
In fact, the more cosmetic effects of smoking (such as bad breath and tooth discoloration) are merely hints of the deeper damage within the mouth. Smoking not only causes increased build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, but also inflammation on the roof of the mouth.
Furthermore, smokers are at an increased risk rate for developing:
- Oral cancer (Did you know that tobacco users make up about 90% of all people who suffer from cancer of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat? That's right. The risk of developing these types of cancers is six times more likely for smokers.)
- Gum disease (note: this is a leading cause of tooth loss)
- Leukoplakia (i.e. white or gray patches within the mouth, which are caused by chronic irritation of the mucous membranes)
The good news? Quitting tobacco can greatly reduce the health risks listed above. Contact your dentist and doctor to learn how you can reduce these serious oral health risks.