smoking and oral health

The Effects Of Alcohol & Smoking On Oral Health

The condition of your teeth and mouth might not feel like a priority, particularly when compared to other areas of the body where the immediate effects of ill health are more obvious. This is especially the case if there are no current problems with your oral health. However, if you let this part of your daily regime slide and don’t action problems as they arise then you could find yourself with some pretty serious issues down the line – for example, did you know that poor oral hygiene can lead to heart attacks and even strokes?

Of course two of the worst offenders when it comes to negatively affecting oral hygiene are cigarettes and alcohol. You may well have experienced that dry mouth feeling the morning after a few too many glasses of wine or waking up with a slightly sore throat if you’ve been smoking. As well as being uncomfortable and giving you some pretty unpleasant bad breath, smoking and alcohol can also cause some much more serious problems.

Smoking is a bad habit that has a negative effect on just about every area of the body. In the mouth it can lead to discoloured teeth, a build up of plaque and tartar, bone loss in the jaw and the risk of developing gum disease, which is the most common cause of tooth loss. Smoking can also cause inflammations, particularly of the salivary gland openings on the roof of the mouth and there is evidence that smoking stops normal gum function, making gum infections more likely for smokers and stopping blood flow to the gums. This can make healing much more difficult, whether after a tooth removal or oral surgery. Other issues for smokers include the very serious risk of developing oral cancer and also of leukoplakia, which is where white patches form inside the mouth.

Alcohol in excess is also likely to increase the risk of throat and oral cancers – anyone drinking heavily greatly increases the risk of cancer in the mouth, throat and oesophagus. As a result of the sugar and acids in alcohol tooth decay is far more likely and for anyone who has serious alcohol abuse issues there is a much greater chance of developing precancerous oral lesions. As for smokers, gum disease is another big risk factor for anyone drinking heavily.

Either alcohol or cigarettes, used in excess alone, can have a very negative effect on oral health but together they can be quite lethal, particularly in large quantities. For anyone who has concerns about oral health as a result of habits like these, now is a great time to take action.

If you would like some advice on the state of your oral health and how to correct and improve it, make an appointment with your local Smile Pad dentist, we’d be happy to help.