There are many reasons to be concerned about smoking and tobacco use. Smoking affects every aspect of your health, weakening it, and putting additional stress on your body at the same time. Also, your smile is often the first thing others notice about you, and healthy white teeth allow you to express yourself genuinely and confidently. Even with a proper oral hygiene routine, your teeth can become discolored with all forms of tobacco exposure. In addition to dulling your smile, smoking contributes to bad breath, another undesirable consequence that can ruin a first impression.
The Physical Effects of Smoking
In addition to stained teeth and bad breath, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), smoking and tobacco use cause a diminished sense of taste. Just ask a former smoker about the difference in their ability to taste foods before and after quitting.
Smoking can also suppress your immune system, affecting your capacity to recover from common illnesses and heal from minor injuries. Because of its connection to our immune systems, smoking poses one of the most significant risks for developing periodontal (gum) disease. The swelling and irritation associated with gum disease can affect the underlying bone and other supporting structures, and when advanced, leads to tooth loss.
Any use of tobacco, especially smokeless tobacco, increases the risk of oral cancer and a compromised immune system is less able to help doctors treat this condition.
Smoking and Your Smile
Smoking and tobacco use cause tooth decay and complicate treatment with cosmetic or restorative dentistry. Because tobacco leads to deep tooth discoloration, professional teeth whitening treatment is less effective. Once your oral health is improved, you may require veneers to brighten your smile.
The Dentist Can Help
Dental health professionals often play a significant role in smoking cessation. Establishing a rapport with a trusted dentist who is skilled in this area can greatly increase your chances of quitting successfully.
Things to look for in a dentist who is concerned with not only your teeth but your overall health, include the following: One who establishes trust, regularly reviews your medical history and current medications, as well as being informative and easy to communicate with.
If you have a dentist like this, and they don’t bring up the subject themselves, be proactive and ask them how they can help you quit smoking. They typically make a referral for an in-depth smoking cessation program and note your chart to follow up with you for support and additional care.
Patients tend to see their dentists more often than their primary care providers and it’s harder to fool your dentist when it comes to smoking. Once you make a commitment to stop smoking, notifying your dentist that you are taking this step allows them to both encourage you and keep you accountable.
If you are seeking a South Shreveport dentist who cares about your total well-being as well as the health of your smile, call Dr. Robert Palmer or Dr. Jake O’Brien today!