Most of us keep at least a few habits. Hopefully, we keep more healthy habits, such as eating fresh foods, than unhealthy habits. One of the pandemic problems among teens and adults alike would be described as a bad habit. We’re talking about the use of tobacco. The awareness that smoking and other tobacco use can degrade physical wellness has become widespread. And yet, millions of people in our country alone still find it difficult to resist. Here, we want to touch on a few ways that tobacco use can wreck the mouth.
Most people are aware that the brightness of their teeth is not a given. Enamel is porous and will absorb microscopic debris from molecules of food and beverages. It doesn’t stop there. Debris from tobacco products and cigarette smoke are also absorbed into enamel. Teeth initially become dull and yellow due to the settling of molecules beneath the surface. In time, though, enamel takes on brown discoloration as a result of persistent contact with chemicals. Furthermore, discoloration can become difficult to fight due to the fact that these chemicals also degrade enamel, making it more susceptible to staining.
There are three ways in which smoking affects the overall structure of the mouth:
- As enamel gets worn away by the acidity of the poorly oxygenated mouth, there is an increased risk of decay. In some cases, the long term use of tobacco has been cited for extensive rotting of teeth, right down to the roots.
- The oral mucosa is soft and vulnerable. Acid and bacteria work much more quickly to degrade these soft tissues in the mouth. Gum disease is a prevalent condition among smokers. Not just gingivitis, but advanced gum disease that involves the bone in which teeth are stabilized.
- Cancer is a word no one wants to hear. Smokers are not excluded from this desire. However, there is a significantly higher chance that a smoker will at some point develop oral cancer. The concern with this condition is that it is very subtle at first, barely perceptible. It is often not diagnosed until it has advanced and possibly spread.
We offer friendly care in McLean and South Riding. For your checkup and cleaning, or to discuss cosmetic treatment, call 703-448-1020.