Not only the heart and lungs will be negatively affected by smoking. Oral health is one of the things that will be adversely affected by smoking.
The impact on oral health
Smoking and using other tobacco products cause most of the gum problems in adults. Smoking can increase the risk of developing gum disease. Tobacco inhibits the flow of blood to the gums, thus making the gums lack nutrition, oxygen and vulnerable to infection. In addition, smoking has an impact on damage to bone and tissue layers in the teeth.
Depending on the amount and duration of smoking, smokers are at risk of experiencing the following problems:
- Tooth discoloration.
- Bad breath that is permanent.
- Decreased bone density in the jaw.
- Periodontitis: an infection caused by bacteria in the oral cavity that results in damage to the supporting tissues of the teeth.
- Increased plaque buildup and tartar.
- Increased risk of oral cancer.
- Increased risk of sinusitis.
- Inflammation of the salivary glands.
- The risk of developing white patches in the mouth is called leukoplakia.
- Increased risk of gum disease. This condition is the main cause of tooth loss.
- Increased risk of cavities in teeth.
Danger of Non-Smoking Tobacco
Apart from being the basic ingredient of cigarettes, in some countries including Indonesia, tobacco leaves can be chewed or diculum. Chewing tobacco is generally only produced by small-scale home businesses and without brands, or even rolled only for personal consumption.
Unfortunately, this non-smoking tobacco turns out to be more dangerous than smoking. Tobacco contains more than 25 chemicals that are at risk of causing mouth and throat cancer. The use of chewed tobacco can cause the body to be exposed to far more nicotine content than cigarettes. In addition, this non-smoking tobacco can cause irritation and thinning of the gum layer, so the teeth become more sensitive.
A smoker has a six times higher risk of developing mouth and throat cancer compared to nonsmokers. Research also proves that by stopping smoking, the risk of developing gum disease will decrease dramatically. In addition, almost all non-smokers who suffer from leukoplakia can also recover in less than two months.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is a therapy for stopping smoking that is relatively safe for everyone. Therapy is carried out with several options:
- Nicotine gum: chew slowly for 30 minutes regularly.
- Suction tablets: suck between the gums and inside the cheeks for 30 minutes.
- Sublingual tablets: tablets are left to dissolve under the tongue.
- Inhalers: inhale regularly and according to dosage.
- Transdermal: applied to dry skin and hairless on the upper body.
- Nasal spray.
Ask your doctor to find out which therapy is more suitable for you.
Go to the dentist
In addition to brushing your teeth, gargling with antibacterial fluids can reduce the risk of tooth and gum disease. Special mouthwash is available for smokers. Whether you are a smoker or not, it is still important to see a dentist if you experience the following symptoms:
- Bleeding gums when brushed.
- Teeth become more sensitive to hot or cold food.
- Swollen, painful, or red gums.
- Gums that stretch or move away from the teeth.
- Changing the meeting of rows of upper and lower teeth.
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away.
- Date of permanent tooth.