The effects of smoking on oral hygiene

The effects of smoking on oral hygiene

It's no secret that tobacco consumption is detrimental to overall health, starting with the oral cavity. In Switzerland, almost 9,500 people die every year from the effects of smoking. The first to suffer are the teeth, gums, tongue and lips. In addition to lung disease and heart disease, smoking can cause serious oral and dental problems. Find out more about the pathologies from which smokers can suffer, and our tips for regaining a healthy mouth. improved oral hygiene

Bad breath

Cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemical substances. These are inhaled by smokers and end up in the oral cavity. The result: reduced saliva production, dry mouth and bad breath. This phenomenon is also known as "halitosis". It can lead to oral and dental infections, as well as nasopharyngitis. 

The formation of dental caries

The effects of smoking on oral hygiene also include the followingappearance of cavities. Repeated gingivitis and bacterial plaque build-up weaken teeth. This triples the risk of developing cavities in smokers. To avoid having to consult dental emergency in Lausanne or elsewhere in Switzerland, prevention remains the best solution. 

Tooth discoloration

This is undoubtedly one of the most visible consequences in the mouths of tobacco addicts. The chemicals in cigarettes cause dark stains on the enamel and a general yellowing of the teeth. The main culprits are nicotine and tar. The longer you smoke, the more likely it is that these stains will become permanent.

Periodontal disease

Scientific studies have shown that 50 % of gum disease is directly linked to smoking. Cigarettes attack the periodontium - the tissues that support the teeth - in a number of ways. It increases plaque and lowers blood oxygen levels. Gums become infected more easily in smokers than in non-smokers. In the long term, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.  

Impaired sense of taste and smell

Regular smokers quickly develop taste and smell disorders. They have trouble smelling and perceiving the flavors of the food and drink they consume. This effect may seem less serious than the others, but it's not. As well as reducing the pleasure of eating, it causes smokers to over-salt or over-sweeten their food. The good news is that this partial loss of taste and smell is not permanent. Simply stop smoking to regain the precision of these two essential senses.

Cancer of the mouth, tongue and throat

Smoking or chewing tobacco is the leading cause of oral cancer. It can affect the lips, tongue, floor of the mouth, tonsil pillar, gums and throat. On average, smokers are 6 times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers. These risks are increased if smoking is associated with alcoholism. In most cases, these types of cancer are only diagnosed at an early stage, reducing the chances of cure and survival. It is possible to request a screening for oral cancer at a dental hygienist in Lausanne or elsewhere in Switzerland. 

Other harmful effects of smoking

Tobacco consumption leads to other oral health problems. Mucous membranes often lose elasticity and become fibrous. Certain treatments are less likely to be successful, and healing after oral surgery is delayed. Finally, the irreversible loosening of teeth represents a real risk. 

The positive consequences of giving up cigarettes

While the effects of smoking can be devastating to your health, many of them disappear when you give up. Here are a few concrete examples to motivate you:

  • After just 48 hours of smoking cessation, you notice an improvement in breath, taste and smell.
  • After 3 months without cigarettes, the mucous membranes of the mouth begin to return to normal. 
  • After a year of abstinence, your gums are healthy again.
  • After ten years, the risk of developing oral cancer is halved. The risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease is also reduced. 

More generally, oxygen levels in the blood increase. Blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal. You breathe more easily, feel less out of breath and don't tire at the slightest physical effort. 

Support to help you stop smoking

Le site is packed with information and advice to help Swiss smokers successfully quit. This initiative by the University of Geneva's Institute of Global Health offers practical tools, including an application and an online coaching program. 

The HELVIDENT team of dentists welcomes you to its three dental clinics in Lausanne, Fribourg and Aigle. Don't hesitate to ask them for advice on quitting smoking.