Smoking and your Smile
- Posted on: Jan 30 2017
Most Americans have heard once or twice (or several times) that “smoking is not good for you.” Yes, yes, yes. Smoking can cause lung cancer. And yet, this habit remains a prevalent condition in our country, not only among adults but among young people, as well. The fact is, studies have identified several thousand chemicals in cigarette smoke. Of these, nearly 100 of them are known to cause cancer. The “C” word, aside, there are direct ways in which the use of tobacco, and all of its complementary chemicals, affects your mouth.
Stained teeth look old. At the very least, discoloration makes your smile forgettable. Stained teeth can look unhealthy. At worst, they can make you look unwell! Smoking and other tobacco use affect enamel in two ways. First, the chemicals in tobacco products deposit molecules onto the surface of teeth. These are absorbed into the microscopic pores in enamel, where they block light and cause teeth to look dull. The more molecules that are absorbed, the darker and more yellow teeth become. Many smokers, if they do not have their teeth whitened periodically, eventually develop brown stains around the gum line. The second way that tobacco use degrades the smile is by weakening enamel, thus making it vulnerable to further discoloration.
For gum tissue to be healthy and strong, it requires oxygenation. Tobacco use impedes the uptake of oxygen into tissues by decreasing the level of oxygen in the blood. Without adequate nutrients, the gums become weak and loose around teeth. This tissue becomes susceptible to the consequences of oral bacteria, which create an acidic surface on which infection can more easily develop. Gum disease is a progressive condition that can spread beneath the gums to the periodontal ligament and, eventually, to the bone.
We can help you brighten your smile with professional teeth whitening, hiding the fact that you use tobacco. What we would like to do is help you preserve the health of your teeth and mouth with routine oral care and assistance when you are ready to “kick the habit.”
Dr. Frey has provided outstanding dental care to patients in the Los Angeles area and far beyond for the past 25 years. His services will soon cross the pond, with our new office location in London opening soon. To schedule a visit in our Beverly Hills office, call 310-276-4537.