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How Smoking Could Be Impacting Your Oral Health

Are you looking for a little extra incentive to finally kick the habit of smoking? If so, it is important to consider the impact of tobacco on your oral health. Smoking has a number of negative repercussions on your oral health—from bad breath to an increased risk of gum disease. To gain that extra motivation to quit smoking, check out these five ways tobacco usage is causing damage to your teeth, mouth, and gums.

1. Smoking leads to halitosis, or bad breath.

While the smoke that resides in your lungs and throat is the most immediate cause of bad breath, there is also a more longterm impact on your health. Smoking can impact your saliva production, which is important for neutralizing the acids caused by bacteria and washing away dead cells that accumulate in the mouth. Without saliva to wash these dead cells away, they decompose and leave a bad smell on your breath.

2. Smoking can impact the aesthetic appearance of your teeth.

There are two chemicals in cigarette smoke that are the enemy of white teeth: nicotine and tar. Nicotine begins as a colorless substance, but once it comes into contact with oxygen, it turns into a yellowish color. On the other hand, tar leaves a black and brown stain on your dental enamel. These two chemicals cling to the various nooks and crannies on the surface of your teeth, leaving a stain that can be difficult to remove.

3. Smokers are at higher risk for cavities.

When you smoke, it can lead to an increase in plaque and tartar in your mouth. Plaque feeds on the sugars in your foods and, if not removed, will ultimately produce harmful acids that wreak havoc on your dental enamel. Unfortunately, dental enamel does not regrow and therefore must be fixed through restorative dentistry procedures.

4. Smoking can permanently damage your taste buds.

Unfortunately, smoking can make it more difficult to enjoy the taste of your favorite foods. Chemicals found in smoke have been proven to change the shape of your taste receptors—making them flatter. This change in shape makes them less effective and dulls your sense of taste.

5. Smoking increases your risk for periodontal (gum) disease.

Smoking is known to weaken the immune system and create an environment in your mouth for harmful plaque and tartar to flourish. These two factors make smoking one of the strongest indicators of your risk for gum disease. The harmful bacteria caused by plaque leads to an inflammation of the gums, known as gingivitis. If left untreated, this infection ultimately leads to gum disease, which can cause a number of more serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, respiratory illness, and more.

Luckily, many of these harmful side effects of smoking can be reversed! For example, it has been proven that quitting smoking significantly decreases your risk of gum disease. To learn more about how you can combat the effects of smoking on your oral health, call Caputo Dental in Naperville to schedule your appointment today.

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