The romance between smoking and oral diseases

Smoking and oral disease are very capable of working hand in hand to ruin your overall health. This is possible because not only can smoking itself cause oral disease, it can also hide it from your notice.

When you ask most people what it is they fear the most about smoking, the answer you usually promptly get is lung cancer. While the fear of this eventual outcome from a life of puffing on cigarette butts is understandable, there’s much more to fear from cigarettes.

With each puff you take on a cigarette, thousands of chemicals are released into your body and each one is capable of wreaking its own special form of havoc within your system. One of the more sinister and stealthy ways cigarette smoking can harm your body is by compromising your oral health.

Picture a scenario where a typical smoker suddenly chooses to stop smoking much later in his life. The immediate assumption would be he/she has made a great life choice that will lead to a much healthier and fulsome experience.

But unfortunately, rather than simply living happily ever after, the ex-smoker suddenly begins to experience heavy bleeding from the gums not long after quitting. Even stranger, when the retired smoker relapses and begins smoking again, the bleeding automatically stops.

What could this possibly mean?

Before you make the wrong assumption, it need to be clarified first that cigarettes do not have amazing healing powers and the individual in the illustration above was not being saved by smoking.

Actually, smoking was covering up the real health issue. This is possible because once the smoke from cigarettes enter the mouth, the nicotine contained within it hampers the blood vessels in the smoker’s mouth and stops them from functioning properly. Over time, this will make their gums less vascular.

Simply put, the cigarette smoke deadens the smoker’s mouth by restricting blood flow into it.

If you smoke habitually, because of the lack of proper circulation in your mouth, symptoms of oral diseases that you might have noticed sooner if your mouth were healthier would go unnoticed. This can lead to oral disease reaching a critical state before you realise something is wrong and can take appropriate steps to rectify it.

Just because a smoker doesn’t experience bleeding gums doesn’t imply that such a smoker has sound oral health. Rather, it simply means that the symptoms which would indicate the state of his or her oral health is being masked by the effects of the cigarette smoke.

Once a smoker stays away from cigarettes for a certain amount of time, proper circulation can resume inside the mouth and formerly hidden symptoms will suddenly come to the fore as blood begins reaching areas of the mouth it previously couldn’t access.

But immediately such a person resumes smoking once more, circulation will again become restricted and the blossoming oral disease will again become masked.

Resuming cigarette smoking doesn’t cure the problem, it simply throws a blanket over it and tricks you into thinking that whatever had caused the gum bleeding or other symptom has left your system.

If you would like to keep all your teeth and enjoy good oral health, the best option would be to continue your life without the influence of cigarettes. This is because asides from hiding symptoms, cigarette smoking can stop you from effectively recovering from an identified oral issue.

For example, if you have been diagnosed of a particular oral disease and have been given treatment, your recovery might not be as quick or as complete as it should be because cigarette smoking hampers recovery in the mouth. This is possible because the chemicals within the cigarette smoke have negatively affected the cells in your mouth and affected their ability to regenerate or function properly.

Also, if you were to undergo a surgical procedure in your mouth, the healing process will likely take longer than usual or stay incomplete because of the effects of smoking.

Because of the masking effect of cigarettes, you might not be able to notice it when something goes wrong in your mouth, and even if you do notice and try to get it fixed, your efforts might be thwarted. So, the best way to keep your mouth healthy is to simply do away with your cigarettes.

Unfortunately, leaving behind a smoking habit isn’t so easy for people who have become addicted to the nicotine ingredient. Suddenly quitting smoking for such people can lead to withdrawal symptoms when the body doesn’t receive the dose of nicotine it has grown accustomed to. But, the good news is there’s an effective way to gradually quit smoking while still getting your nicotine fix – Vapes. Vapes or e-cigarettes are electronic devices that allow you to simulate the act of smoking a cigarette.

According to experts from Lotolabs, “…vaping is even more satisfying than smoking an actual cigarette because the experience can be completely personalised and the consumer can enjoy the absence of a majority of the harmful chemicals found in cigarette fumes.”

With a vaping device, you can tailor your vaping experience to contain as little or as much nicotine as you want. Through this option, you can gradually wean yourself off nicotine over a short period till your body no longer yearns for the substance.

Completely overcoming your nicotine dependence is important because it is what leads to the hampering of circulation within your mouth. As long as you are still consuming nicotine rich products, your oral health will remain compromised.

Asides from making oral diseases unnoticed, smoking itself can lead to teeth yellowing, mouth odour, plaque growth, and periodontitis.

Therefore, In addition to quitting smoking, be sure to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice a day – once in the morning and again at night. The night time brushing is essential and should be the last thing you do because your mouth produces less saliva at night to wash out bacteria. Brushing will get rid of such bacteria before you fall asleep. Flossing is also very important and shouldn’t be ignored because it cleans out the parts of the teeth a toothbrush can’t reach.