When you hear about the impacts of smoking on your health, your first thought probably goes to lung cancer, right? Although lung cancer is definitely an issue that stems from smoking, oral cancer and other issues can arise from smoking as well. Dr. Kami Hoss goes into great detail to explain how the effects of smoking will cause on your oral health.

Take a moment to think about it — smokers frequently put those harmful chemicals like acetone, arsenic, nicotine and lead into their bodies via the mouth. Of course oral issues would arise from smoking as well. Here are a few ways smoking impacts your oral health.

Tooth Discoloration

Teeth naturally become discolored and stained over time with age and repeated ingestion of drinks like coffee, tea and wine. However, smoking can cause extrinsic stains on tooth enamel, which is the outer protective layer of the tooth.

In addition to that, the enamel naturally gets thinner over time. This allows dentin, which lies below the enamel and is a dense, bony tissue forming the bulk of a tooth beneath the enamel, to show through. Dentin is not as protective as enamel, and thus, this can also become discolored and stained.

By smoking, this will essentially speed up the process of tooth discoloration and at times, may even encourage teeth to become darker than another individual their age who doesn’t smoke.

Periodontal Gum Disease

According to the Mayo Clinic, periodontal gum disease is a serious bacterial gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that secure your teeth to your jawbones — and smoking is the most significant risk factor associated with gum disease.

Smoking encourages bacteria in your mouth grow in hidden areas around your teeth, such as behind your molars and in between your teeth. As a reaction to this bacteria, the body breaks down the gums and bone that compose your mouth.

Some symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Bad breath
  • Red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
  • Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose or sensitive teeth

Oral Cancer

According to Colgate, oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth. This includes the lips, tongue, throat, salivary glands, pharynx, larynx and even sinuses.

The chances of getting oral cancer greatly increase with the use of tobacco so any kind, which includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco. The Mouth Cancer Foundation reports that 90 percent of individuals diagnosed with oral cancer consume tobacco.

Some symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Swelling or sores in or around your mouth or throat
  • Red or white lesions in your mouth or lips
  • Numbness, pain or tenderness anywhere in your mouth
  • Pain in ears but without loss of hearing
  • Trouble moving your jaw or tongue
  • Problems with chewing, swallowing or speaking
  • Loose teeth

Regardless if you’re a smoker or not, make sure you visit the dentist twice a year for your inspection and deep cleaning. Come check out Dr. Kami Hoss practice!