In today’s day and age, although there are ads that warn people against the harms of tobacco products and smoking, there are still people smoking out there. With the rise in those vaping or smoking e-cigarettes, most users don’t know the harm it can bring to their dental health. At Roessler, DDS, we try to educate our patients as much as possible so that they can determine if smoking or vaping is worth it for their dental health. Our Mundelein dentist is here to provide you with the information about how vaping, smoking and tobacco products affect your dental health.
How Vaping Affects Your Dental Health
Vaping was first introduced years ago as a healthy alternative to smoking, but recent studies have shown that this healthy alternative is not as healthy as some would think. When it comes to your dental health, vaping is not a healthier alternative. If you care about the health of your teeth mouth, you will think twice before you put an e-cigarette or vape in your mouth. One of the top problems associated with vaping is the prominence of dry mouth. With dry mouth comes a lot of different dental problems like tooth decay.
When it comes to your oral health and vaping, vaping is actually better for non-smokers because it does not cause secondhand smoke. Although a smokeless vapor is going into your body, it still contains nicotine which is the main cause of problems. Nicotine reduces the blood flow which restricts the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the soft tissues in your mouth. As a result, you can experience receding gums because of the blood restriction. This will force your gums to pull away from your tooth roots, also leaving you susceptible to gum disease. This will also slow down saliva production which will lead to a dry mouth. When you have a dry mouth, bacteria just hangs around in your mouth and sticks to your teeth. As a result, tooth decay and more easily develop.
Not only does reduced blood flow cause gum disease and dry mouth, it can halt your mouth’s ability to fight off bacteria and infection. This can accelerate decay rates and periodontal disease. Nothing good can come from vaping regularly over time.
How is Vaping Different than Cigarette Smoking?
When you smoke a cigarette, your teeth are coming into contact with nicotine, tar and other harmful chemicals that are in cigarettes. With vaping, your mouth comes into contact with a smokeless vapor that contains nicotine and other chemicals. Although vaping is not good for you, it is better for your oral health than cigarette smoking.
How Smoking Affects Your Oral Health Dental Health
When you choose to smoke cigarettes, tar, nicotine and other harmful chemicals are entering your body through your mouth. It only makes sense that the area that receives the most damage from smoking is the part of your body you are ingesting it through. Your teeth are the first point of contact for these harmful chemicals. When they hit your teeth, it can lead to yellowing stains that are actually quite difficult to remove, even with our strongest teeth whitening treatments at our Mundelein dentist office. The harmful chemicals also weaken the enamel which protects your teeth from cavities and bacteria. This means your teeth will be more susceptible to harmful bacteria that can cause cavities, decay and gum disease. Bacteria can more easily eat away at your teeth and cause them to rot and even fall out.
When bacteria builds up on your teeth, this can lead to periodontal disease. If not treated early on, your gums will begin to recede and your teeth may even potentially fall out. The last major way smoking affects your dental health is by causing oral cancer. With over 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke, over 70 of them are known to cause cancer.
To summarize: smoking cigarettes will stain your teeth yellow, weaken your enamel, cause cavities, tooth decay, receding gums and your teeth may potentially rot out of your mouth. You might also develop oral cancer. Is smoking worth it in the end? We’ll let you decide.
Smoking and its Effect on Oral Surgery
Now that you know about the main side effects smoking has on your oral health, you should know how it further affects your oral health. If you’re planning on having an oral surgery like dental implants or even an extraction, you should be warned. When you smoke, it takes a huge toll on your cardiovascular health because it slows your blood circulation. As a result, you’re more likely to have cardiovascular complications, especially during surgery.
If you need to be under general anesthesia for any sort of surgery, including oral surgery, you might not be able to unless you quit smoking. This is because your chance for having a cardiac arrest during surgery is 57 percent more likely to occur in smokers. You are also 73 percent more likely to experience a stroke and 80 percent more likely to experience a heart attack. This means a simple surgery can end up being life-threatening because of your smoking habits. With regular smoking comes increased inflammation. As a result, cardiovascular problems are more likely to occur.
How Smoking Impacts Wound Healing
Not only does your chance for heart problems increase with your smoking habits, but healing wounds becomes more difficult for your body to handle. If you need to undergo an oral surgery for any reason, you should know that your recovery time is going to be much higher than a non-smoker. This is because smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream. This means that your body receives less oxygen and with less oxygen means longer healing times. Oxygen is necessary for the body to heal. This means that if you have an open wound, it will take longer for it to close up. This exposes your body to an increased risk for infection and higher chances of scarring. If you’re undergoing any sort of orthopedic surgery that includes your bones or joints, this will also take longer to heal.
If you have an upcoming surgery and you’re a smoker, now is a better time than ever to consider quitting. Your doctor will most likely recommend you quit before your surgery date. This is for several reasons. Within just a few days after you quit smoking, your body begins to receive more oxygen because the blood flow improves. Four weeks after you have quit smoking, there is a reduction in your inflammatory cell response. This means your body is no longer inflamed and can, therefore, focus on healing sooner. Your risk for heart-related problems during surgery also reduces after you quit smoking. For best results, try to quit smoking at least a month prior to your surgery to reap the most benefits.
How Chewing Tobacco Affects Your Oral Health
Some patients believe that it is the smoke that harms their health. In reality, yes, smoking harms your health, especially your lungs, but it is mainly the harmful chemicals inside tobacco products that produce the most harm to the body. Chewing tobacco, or snuff, is just as harmful to your oral health as smoking cigarettes. Chewing tobacco and snuff sits in your mouth between your gums and cheek where the nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream. Users spit out the saliva that builds up in their mouth from using it, you do not swallow it. Although you aren’t exhaling harmful smoke and exposing others to secondhand smoke, you are constantly spitting, which is just as gross to be around.
Smokeless tobacco is just as addictive as cigarettes due to the high nicotine contents. Some of the side effects of smokeless tobacco on your oral health include bleeding or cracking lips and gums, receding gums, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, oral cancer, stained teeth, tooth decay, worn down enamel, worn down teeth, bone loss and gum disease.
Smokeless Tobacco is Just as Harmful as Cigarettes
Since this product is used in your mouth the entire time, your mouth takes the hardest hit. Smokeless tobacco can also cause pancreatic cancer as well as esophagus cancer. The smokeless tobacco will first begin to give you bad breath. Following your bad breath, you might start to notice tooth discoloration after continued use. Using smokeless tobacco can also affect your sense of smell and taste. The harmful chemicals in the tobacco, as well as the sugar in it, will begin to break down your tooth’s enamel. This will put you at an increased risk for decay, cavities and gum disease. It’s quite common for those who use chewing tobacco to develop receding gum lines and periodontal disease.
The nicotine in the product will slow down your blood flow, which also puts your body at a higher risk for infection because it cannot fight it off as well. This means that tooth infections are more likely. Just like smoking cigarettes, wounds will not heal as easily and you will be at a higher risk for heart problems during surgery. Just like with regular smoking, we advise our patients to quit chewing tobacco sooner than later if they’re going to undergo surgery.
How to Save Your Oral Health from Tobacco Destruction
If the information in this blog has helped you see just how tobacco products can affect your oral health, you should know that it’s never too late to make a change. If you’re ready to save your teeth from the destruction of tobacco, you can make certain changes in your life to save your oral health. First and foremost, you can quit smoking, vaping and chewing smokeless tobacco. Of course, we understand this is a lengthy process. In the meantime, you can make certain changes in your life to produce less harm to your teeth.
For example, you can begin to revitalize your oral health by visiting our Mundelein dental office every 6 months. During these appointments, we will clean your teeth and look for any signs of decay, damage or infection. This will allow us to treat your dental problems before they grow out of control. When we clean your teeth, this helps remove the chemicals and potential staining from the tobacco products. In addition, it removes plaque and tartar from your teeth which can cause decay and cavities. Your cleaning will be the first step in preventing serious dental problems. If we notice a buildup of plaque and tartar under your gum line, we will perform a root planing and scaling, also known as a deep cleaning. This helps prevent gum disease and infections from developing.
Also during this appointment, we will take x-rays and look for oral cancer. This will allow us to treat any problems before they grow out of hand. Aside from your appointments with us every 6 months, we recommend that you put as much energy as possible into your oral health as possible. This means brushing your teeth after your smoke. This will help remove the harmful chemicals from your teeth before they can do any serious damage. We also recommend flossing and using mouthwash daily to kill bacteria. The best way to maintain your oral health when you smoke or use tobacco products is by taking your dental hygiene into your own hands. This may help prevent you from losing any teeth while you are taking your time to quit.
Visit Our Mundelein Dentist to Protect Your Teeth from the Effects of Smoking and Vaping Today
If you’re a smoker, vaper or partake in smokeless tobacco, you will need as much dental care as possible to prevent serious dental problems from occurring. Give our Mundelein dentist a call today to schedule your next dental exam and cleaning. We will look for any signs of dental problems as well as oral cancer that may be caused by your smoking or tobacco habits. Don’t wait! The health of your teeth matters. Give us a call or fill out our online form to request an appointment.