Everyone knows that smoking is bad for the health. But only a few know that it’s particularly bad for oral health.
Although the number of smokers in New Zealand has declined in the last years, there are still more than 600,000 adults who haven’t kicked the habit yet — putting their oral health and thus, over-all well-being at risk. But how exactly does smoking damage the teeth?
The Link Between Smoking and Poor Oral Health
Smoking is bad for your oral health in a lot of ways. It causes teeth discolouration and gives you foul-smelling breath. But probably the biggest risk of all is it makes you more prone to gum disease.
Every time you smoke, your immune system gets weaker and weaker at fighting off bacteria, allowing them to stay longer on your teeth and gums. This leads to gingivitis, the inflammation of the gums.
Over time, gums pull away from teeth, creating gaps vulnerable to infection. The underlying bone structures also become weaker. This problem is now a severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis. When the bone and tissue supporting teeth wears away, teeth will fall out eventually.
Tooth loss is a serious problem in itself, causing a lot of health issues, from changes in facial appearance to jaw pain. It’s the common reason people go to their dental clinics, such as those in Tauranga, dentures being one of the common treatments recommended.
Another Reason to Quit
Given that smoking causes a lot of oral health problems, it just adds to the pile of compelling reasons to quit the habit. The most important step towards cessation is committing to a date when you’ll really quit.
You have to be wholehearted about it — and setting a concrete date makes this commitment real to you. Another crucial thing to do is to tell social circles about your plan to quit. This doesn’t just give you a support system but also the accountability to follow through your plan.
Remember that you don’t have to be alone in this; in fact, NZ’s Ministry of Health has helpful programs and experts you can go to for help.
No doubt, smoking is bad for the health — specifically, oral health. Kick the habit to live a healthier life.