It goes without saying that smoking cigarettes has a number of severe health side effects, but one that is often overlooked is the negative impact that smoking has on your teeth and overall oral health. Tobacco reduces blood flow to the gums depriving them of oxygen and nutrients, and limiting your body’s ability to fight off infection.
When your mouth can’t fight back, plaque and bacteria fester, leading to conditions ranging from bad breath and teeth yellowing, to root canals, gum disease and oral cancer.
Smoking has long been established as a significant risk factor for gum disease. If left unchecked, gum disease can lead to abscesses, the destruction of the tooth’s supporting tissues, and tooth loss.
Depending on the amount of tobacco use, smokers can expect to develop a combination of the following:
- Persistent bad breath
- Discoloured teeth
- An increase in calculus tartar build-up
- Gum and bone diseases
- Jaw bone loss
- Shifting teeth
- Oral cancers
- Mouth sores
- Root caries cavities
- Hairy tongue
- Smoker’s lip
- Altered sense of taste and smell
- Delayed wound healing