National No Smoking Day falls on Wednesday 14 March this year. Most of us are well aware that smoking is incredibly bad for our health overall. However, the specific damage smoking causes to your mouth, gums and teeth is often overlooked. Smokers commonly suffer tooth staining, gum disease, tooth loss and, most shockingly, mouth cancer.
Some damage is easy to see – teeth become discoloured very quickly if you smoke and over time they can turn quite brown. Bad breath is often a common and embarrassing problem for smokers too. Smokers are also prone to gum disease, which develops more rapidly than in non-smokers. This is because smokers are more likely to have plaque on their teeth, which leads to gum disease. The lack of oxygen in the blood, caused by smoking, means that infected gums don’t heal. Ultimately, gum disease that doesn’t heal can lead to teeth falling out.
Most serious of all is the increase in the incidence of mouth cancer, also called oral cancer, with a high proportion of cases linked to smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes. Chewing tobacco, betel quid, gutkha and paan is also dangerous. People with mouth cancer are more likely to die than those with cervical cancer or melanoma skin cancer. A frightening statistic is that over 1,800 people die of mouth cancer in Britain every year.
Giving up smoking will help reduce your risk of developing any of these health problems. Having regular dental check-ups is also a positive step. In addition to checking your teeth, the dentist will also examine your cheeks, tongue and throat for signs of ill-health that may need further investigation. You may also be referred to a dental hygienist to improve your general oral health. Your dentist will also put you in touch with organisations which can help you stop smoking. For instance, we frequently refer local Salford patients here for support to help kick the habit for good, and Trafford patients should see here.
Revive Dental Care welcomes new NHS patients to join us at our practices in Monton, Davyhulme, Bexley Square Salford and Ancoats.