By Dr. Pradeep R K A, Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT)
It is needless to mention how bad smoking is for your health. Most people have already become quite aware of its harmful consequences, thanks to the repetitive disclaimers and government initiatives. However, many still do not know that apart from causing life-threatening diseases, smoking may also cause severe diseases in your mouth, teeth and gums.
Here are some of the oral problems that are caused by smoking:
i. Discoloration of teeth
ii. Bad breath
iii. Inflammation in the openings of the salivary glands
iv. Increased formation of tartar and plaque on the teeth
v. Loss of bone mineral density in the jaws
vi. Appearance of white patches inside the mouth: a condition known as leukoplakia
vii. Increased chances of gum diseases
viii. Pain in the gums
ix. Increased sensitivity of the teeth
x. Delayed healing of oral cavities leading to extraction of the tooth
xi. Fall in success rates of tooth implant procedures
xii. Increased possibilities of oral cancer
How does smoking lead to gum diseases?
Smoking may lead to problems in your gums by decaying the junction of bones and soft tissues of your teeth. Smoking often disrupts the normal functioning of the tissues of the gums. Such disruptions can make smokers more vulnerable to infectious diseases, such as periodontal diseases. It may also restrict the flow of blood to the gums.
Smoking pipes and cigars can also lead to oral problems. Problems may include loss of enamel and alveolar bone along with issues like stained teeth, bad breath and mouth ulcers.
How to quit taking tobacco?
If your smoking habit causes severe oral health problems, your doctor will suggest that you to cut down on your smoking habits along with medications that help curb your nicotine cravings, such as nicotine chewing gums and nicotine patches. Smoking termination classes and support groups are also encouraged along with the ongoing drug therapy.