Dental Tips Blog


The Effects of Nicotine

Posted in Root Canals

There are estimated to be 58 million tobacco users in the United States. This includes cigarettes as well as smokeless tobacco. Of those users, a large majority of them wish they could kick the habit, and avoid the risk of tobacco-related diseases such as cancer and lung problems like COPD and emphysema. Using tobacco can also produce premature labor or low birth weight infants in pregnant women, and it’s even feared it may also be the cause of spontaneous abortions. Children around smokers can also have secondary smoke exposure and may be more likely to use tobacco products when they reach adulthood.

Oral manifestations of tobacco use range from aesthetic concerns or breath malodor to precancerous or cancerous lesions. Perhaps the most obvious implication of using nicotine products is the result of staining on the surfaces of teeth. Brown stain typically builds up on the external tooth surface, but yellow stain is soaked into the tooth enamel as well, which is not easily removed. Yellow teeth appear aged, giving the person an older looking smile than what they actually have. External brown stain can usually be polished off, but internal stain requires dedicated tooth whitening routines to improve the coloration.

Bad breath from smoking may be due to the imbalance of oral flora in the mouth. Some smokers have something called black hairy tongue, which is an abnormal tongue surface that collects stain and odor, making them suffer from bad breath symptoms.

Dental treatment can be more severe in smokers than patients with healthy mouths. Smokers are more likely to develop periodontal disease (gum disease), a condition which leads to tooth loss, as well as being more likely to undergo root canal therapy. Oral surgeries may be necessary if precancerous or cancerous lesions are evident, and should be performed as early as possible to avoid extensive disease therapy.

Posted on the behalf of ToothMasters


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