The perils of smoking to oral health have been many times silenced if not muted by the ever echoing voices of lung cancer and respiratory complications, yet oral health issues arising from smoking continue in the most subtle of ways.
Just like acid burns, such is the destructive nature smoke released from tobacco, as it leaves a destructive trail throughout its immediate path; it is therefore not surprising that oral complications manifest. A multiplex of oral health conditions often manifest as a result of chronic tobacco use with one often preceding the other in a chain-like reaction
Halitosis a medical term for bad breath, is often the first complication. With its stale smoky smell, tobacco smoke interacts with saliva to further turn the already unpleasant smell into a disaster.
Teeth discoloration becomes evident shortly after halitosis, due to the tar and nicotine contained in tobacco, creating a yellow tinge and discoloration
Periodontal or as popularly known, gum disease creeps in. According to the CDC, smokers are twice more likely to get gum disease compared to non-smokers. The chemicals in tobacco create ambient environment for oral bacterial to flourish, leading to development of plaque (bacteria containing film) which can harden into tartar if not cleaned routinely. This can ultimately lead to swollen gums, tooth decay and ultimately loss of teeth if unattended to.
Delayed healing from oral procedures such as tooth extractions and dental implants due to reduced oxygen supply and susceptibility to infections
Oral cancer perhaps reigns supreme on the list of oral complications, often after years of tobacco smoking. The ugly devil finally catches up with you engulfing parts of the tongue, cheeks, lips or gum as a white or red lump or even as a sore that does not heal.
Almost unequivocally, the first step in averting the troubles caused by smoking to say stop. By no means is smoking cessation a one day journey. It will one that will have feeds off a strong motivation ‘sauce’. Such motivation may often be drawn increased awareness of the dangers along with the necessary family support, change of old habits as well as nicotine replacement options.
ORAL HEALTH TIPS FOR SMOKERS
First things first, the basics. Our blog on April 1st titled ‘Oral health and self-medication’ gave a background on the tips for oral hygiene and these will come in handy with 100-fold emphasis. However, special problems will also require unique strategies as highlighted below
1. Choose the appropriate toothpaste or brushing powder. Specially formulated toothpastes with stain removal properties, more calcium, strongly flavored with mint have an upper hand in addressing discolored teeth, bad breath or periodontal disease. Try out Eucryl tooth paste, aloe-vera tooth paste or activated charcoal tooth pastes
2. Use mint flavored fresh breath sprays to contain that smoky nicotine breath
3. Schedule and keep your dental appointments with your doctors.
All journeys start with a single step, start yours now. Start now and change your destiny for good.
HAPPY WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY!