Smoking can have a lasting impact on our health. Oftentimes, it’s the cause of various health complications and even fatal diseases. But enough about what it does to the body—instead, let’s talk about the likely damage sustained from smoking on your mouth, teeth and gums.
1. Stained teeth, bad breath & tooth loss
Beginning with the more superficial effects, smoking can result in nicotine-stained teeth due to the presence of nicotine and tar in the tobacco. You’ll notice your teeth turning yellow within a short span of time. If you know the answer to the question “How much do braces cost in Singapore?”, then you probably want to avoid staining your braces due to smoking—especially if you got invisible braces or plastic aligners in the first place!
What’s more, tobacco can get caught in your brace brackets, further worsening the yellowing stains on your teeth. That’s not all—smoking has also been known to cause foul breath as well as tooth loss and bone loss in the jaw in severe cases.
2. Build-up of plaque & tartar leading to gum disease
The chemicals in tobacco products make it easier for plaque to build up and harden into tartar, contributing to periodontal disease. Cigarette smoke also irritates gum tissue and reduces blood flow to the gums, resulting in a possibility of gums pulling away from the teeth (a.k.a. gum recession).
What’s worse, smoking tobacco causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums don’t heal. It’s not just your gums that aren’t able to heal; if you happen to be undergoing orthodontic treatment, your teeth may not be able to move to its straightened position as quickly—thereby lengthening the amount of time you’ll have to spend in your braces.
3. Loss of taste and smell
Considering how much Invisalign braces cost, most people who purchase them probably do so for its invisibility and easy removal during meals. But this is made redundant if you end up losing your sense of taste and smell because of your smoking habits!
If you didn’t know this before, now you do. Smokers often experience a dulling of the senses, diminishing their ability to taste foods as intensely as they used to before smoking. A reduced sense of smell also has a negative impact on your enjoyment of what you consume.
4. Increased risk of oral cancer
Did you know that around 9 in 10 people with cancer of the mouth, tongue, lips and throat are current or past smokers? The risk of developing oral cancer significantly increases with the amount and frequency of tobacco use. Those who smoke are six times more likely than non-smokers to develop oral cancers.
At the end of the day, it’s best to quit smoking entirely. If you are a frequent smoker, try to cut down your smoking habit and reduce your risk of developing problems with your oral health by taking extra care with your oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day after meals, and floss daily.
If you’re concerned about how smoking affects your teeth or braces, schedule regular appointments with your dentist and orthodontist for professional teeth cleanings and check-ups. You can ask them to recommend an abrasive toothpaste that removes stains more effectively as well as mouthwashes to help to get rid of bad breath in the short term.