I have been pondering on this subject for quite some time, trying to figure out the best way to subtly and carefully going through this sensitive issue without offending anyone, to no avail. Therefore, first and foremost, I am inexpressibly sorry if I offended any of you, but, seriously, there’s just no other way for me to directly confront the subject except for, well, being direct.
While we constantly being reminded everywhere: the television, the adverts, the billboards; about the effect of smoking to our general health, the little known and often ignored, but otherwise extremely important effect of smoking is to our oral health (or should I say oral pain?).
And me, being ever always an obsessively organized person, will list down all the effect of smoking to our mouth and teeth in one, two, three.
Do you always notice that some people have brownish teeth? Especially the lower ones. What happen was, the white plaque and food remnants that stick to our tooth surface and everybody has it, for smokers, is being ‘painted’ brown and yellow by the nicotine. Your dentist can remove the staining on the tooth surface (with backbreaking and neck-paining effort, seriously) but for staining in between the teeth, it is upmost difficult. Dentists have some special polishing material to remove it, but patients always complains of hypersensitivity afterwards, because those materials will actually also remove a little bit of our natural tooth surface, not to mention patients will have to do it regularly… unless if you quit.
The nicotine and the smoke will cause dry mouth. Lame effect, huh? Dry mouth, so what? So, the effect of dry mouth are:
- bad breath. Believe it or not, our saliva plays important role. Lack of saliva will cause bad breath. That is why we have bad breath in the morning because during sleep, our salivary production is also at ‘rest’. Add that to the smell of smoke, and here I wonder how your partner feels when you guys are smooching.
- hypersensitivity. Our saliva actually provides a protective layer on our tooth surface, giving extra protection to our tooth nerve from stimulation by extra cold, extra hot or extra sweet food.dry mouth sufferers will complain of teeth hypersensitivity. Clue: you feel sharp, stinging pain all over your teeth, and you cannot quite pinpoint exactly which tooth is the problem.
- gum and mucosa pain. If you have a minuscule ulcer for example, maybe because you poke yourself with your toothbrush or fishbone, dry condition will exaggerate the pain and prolong the healing. Usually it will take three days for an ulcer to heal, for smokers, about 10 days. And the symptoms are the same as hypersensitivity (the you cannot pinpoint part). And worse, sometimes there’s no wound whatsoever and yet you still have the gum pain. Worse still, if you have pus at your gum area, the pain will make you feel like you want to cabut all your teeth, even though there’s nothing wrong with them. Your teeth are innocent!! Why blame them?!
- difficulties in swallowing. Saliva provides lubrication while swallowing. Lack of lubrication equals to ‘burning sensation’ while you are eating.
.. and that’s just a small part of the effects of dry mouth. Lame, you say. If you do smoke and you have not experience any of these, you will. Soon. Unless if you quit.
Smoking, besides burning a hole through your pocket, can cost you your teeth. One of the reasons of loose teeth is loss of bone, and smoking can cause just that: periodontal destruction and loss of bone. Periodontal tissue is the tissue that is holding our teeth at its place, located inside our bone. Roughly 90% of patients with periodontal problem worldwide are smokers. You are interested in wearing dentures, is it? Of course, unless if you quit.
This will be under the heading - other effects of smoking:
- altered taste sensation, means that sweet lollipop is not so sweet anymore, and that yummy curry is not really that 'kick'. Unless if you quit.
- notice an ever growing dark space in between your two upper front teeth? That is caused by gum recession, which in turn, caused by smoking. That space will be ghastly darker, noticeably bigger, and will be at point of not returning to normal… unless if you quit.