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What your dentist wishes you knew about smoking

It’s estimated that around 9.4 million adults in the UK smoke regularly, which is a crazily high number of people. We’d guess that the majority of these people don’t realise what smoking does to their dental health besides the obvious smoker’s breath and visible teeth staining. As a dentist that champions preventative care and health transformations, we want to discuss what smoking could be doing to your dental health.

Your dentist wants you to know…

Tartar and plaque build-up is increased in smokers. Smoking triggers a reaction in your body and cells that change the pH balance in your mouth. This off-centre pH balance leads to the increased risk of developing plaque which, when left untreated and smoking continues, easily hardens in stubborn tartar. Tartar needs to be professionally removed by a dental hygienist and can worsen problems with your gums. Not only does this leave unattractive yellow-brown deposits on your teeth and gum line, but it can also worsen gum disease which leads to tooth loss.

Your gums in general are put at great risk while smoking. Nearly every adult in the UK has or is encountering some form of gum disease, be it severe or not. Because smoking increases plaque and tartar build-up, it also worsens any underlying gum disease or causes its onset directly. Your gums are also slower to heal when you smoke regularly, which means they can worsen in a much shorter time and be very slow to bounce back from the ensuing gum disease. Your dentist wants you to know the risks of smoking to not only save your teeth but your gums too.

Smoker’s breath is a common complaint of regular smoking, and there is a dangerous reason why. Your lungs are made of spongey tissues called bronchioles, which have lots of little holes in them for the air to pass through. When you inhale tobacco smoke, these smoke particles get trapped in the air holes and cling to the bronchioles. They come loose when you laugh, talk, or exhale, resulting in a smoker’s breath. This can also smell stale because it’s often-old smoke that has gotten trapped in the lungs, creating an unpleasant aroma. Smoke particles being trapped in your lungs is yet another reminder from your dentist that smoking affects all parts of your body, surpassing your teeth and dental health.

Smokers are at risk of developing mouth cancer. According to figures released by the NHS, approximately 90% of people with cancer in the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat currently use or have used tobacco regularly. That makes the risks extremely high for developing mouth cancer for those who regularly smoke. You’re 6 times more likely to develop these cancers than non-smokers. Your dentist will help you learn the signs of mouth cancer and how to check your own mouth at home, which we’ll also support in our dental practice. In fact, you might like our November blog post, how to spot the signs of mouth cancer.

Visit your dentist for advice

If you’re worried about your dental health or would like to seek advice on how to cut down on smoking, visit our dentist in Bolton. Harwood Dental Care provides personal advice for all of our patients, and our main goal is to help you achieve a healthy and happy mouth. Enquire online or speak to a member of the team on 01204 304568 to book your initial dentist appointment today.

You can also find our more about how to find the right dentist for you in one of our other blogs.

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