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Smoking Risks and Oral Health

Close up of man smoking a cigarette.How many times have you heard that smoking is bad for your health? Advertisements, billboards, warning labels on the packs, and even your doctor tell you on almost a daily basis that smoking can cause serious health complications including heart disease and lung cancer. However, did you know that smoking also impacts your oral health as well? Spalding Dental is here to help.

Bad Breath

Cigarettes contain a myriad of harmful chemicals. All of these chemicals coat the inside of your mouth, and they are rather hard to get rid of. Additionally, smoking can cause dry mouth. This is a condition in which your mouth does not have enough saliva, so it feels dry. A dry mouth is a perfect environment for promoting the growth of oral bacteria. Both of these factors contribute to bad breath. No matter how much you brush, how many mints you eat, or how much mouthwash you use, regular smoking contributes significantly to foul breath.

Smoking and Your Smile

Among the chemicals contained in cigarettes, there is tar and nicotine. Both of these chemicals can have a significant impact on the quality of your smile. Tar is naturally dark in color. Nicotine, on the other hand, is clear. However, once it comes into contact with oxygen, it turns yellow. Both of these chemicals can lead to deep stains on your teeth that can be difficult to eliminate.

Increased Risk for Gum Disease

Smoking can increase your risk of developing gum disease. When you smoke, the amount of oxygen in your blood is decreased, and your blood flow is slowed. As a result, the delivery of essential nutrients, and the amount of oxygen, that reach your gums to help fight against bacteria is slowed. Smoking also interferes with your immune system, affecting its ability to fight back against infections. As a result, the bacteria in your mouth can easily harm your gums.

Impact of Smoking and Healing

Whether you have had gum disease treatment or undergone oral surgery, your body needs to heal. To do this, essential nutrients need to be effectively delivered to the treatment sites. Smoking interferes with the ability of your body to heal properly. Again, cigarettes slow blood flow and reduce oxygen levels in the blood. Because of this, your healing slows considerably. With slowed healing, there is a greater chance that bacteria can find their way into surgical wounds and your body will not be able to fight them off. This increases your risk for developing an infection during the healing process substantially.

Risks Associated with Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a devastating disease that can be fatal if it is not found, and treated, in the earliest stages. Smoking is one of the biggest controllable contributing factors for oral cancer. Over 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Approximately 80% to 90% of those diagnosed with oral cancer were smokers. Quitting smoking not only reduces your risk for oral cancer, but it can also reduce your risk of developing lung cancer and several other serious health issues.

If you have any questions or concerns about smoking and your oral health or are looking for ways to quit, call Spalding Dental at (907) 276-7366 to learn more today.
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Spalding Dental's accepts Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, United Concordia Dental, Delta Dental, Aetna, Moba Health, Cigna, Tricare and Medicaid insurance providers

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