Smoking cigarettes provides smokers with a pleasing experience. Smoking is also addictive and can have harsh consequences on one’s oral health.
This post is not meant to make those who smoke feel judged for their habits. However, it is important that if you or a loved one smokes, you understand the risks associated.
As stated in our older post, Tobacco & Your Teeth, the CDC has found that a smoker is twice as likely to develop gum disease than someone who does not smoke. This infection of the gums can lead to tooth loss and bone damage.
If you are a smoker, here is what you can do to protect your teeth:
- Maintain good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice daily and flossing once daily, as well as visiting your dentist every 6 months.
- Stop smoking. This is likely the hardest advice to take, but your mouth – and the rest of your body – will be all the healthier if you stop smoking. If you are having trouble quitting or don’t know where to start, smokefree.gov has resources that can help.
- Be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of gum disease. Early signs of gum disease are red, swollen gums that bleed.
- If you suspect that you may have gum disease, talk to your dentist. You may need to be referred to a periodontist for treatment.
No matter how old you are, it is never too early or too late to quit smoking.
Take care of your smile!