Nowadays, people are more aware of the effects of smoking and its impact on their health but are not well aware of the detrimental consequences of smoking on oral cavity. Smoking has a negative effect on the gum and is one of the factors that contributes to gum disease. It also stains teeth and has been linked to oral cancer.
Why are my teeth stained?
Staining off the teeth is due to tobacco, which contains tar and nicotine, which cause your teeth to appear yellow.
How will smoking affect my gums and teeth?
We have an infection fighter in our body, which is known as the immune system. Smoking makes the immune system weaker. This can be noticed in smokers with gum disease. When the biofilm (plaque) starts building up around the teeth and starts irritating the gums (causing gingivitis) the body starts to send its fighting cells (the immune system cells, white cells) to fight the plaque that contains bacteria and microbes. This is evident on gums that have not been cleaned from the plaque. As the body sends more blood to the gum the gum swells up and bleeds easily. That is why people with gum inflammation notice blood in the sink when they brush their teeth. When the gums bleed people get alarmed and they decide to see a dentist as they worry about their gums. Smoking causes the small blood vessels in the gums to close up. This prevents the blood to come to the areas where plaque is building up. So the response to the attack of the bacteria on the gum is more muted. No apparent blood can be seen in smokers with gum disease. So smokers can live with gum disease that leads to bone recession and tooth mobility without alarming signs from the gums
If you are a smoker:
-You run 3-7 times the risk of gum disease in contrast to a non-smoker.
-Treatment of gum disease might not work as well on heavy smokers compared to non-smokers.
Do Pipe and Cigar Smoking Cause Dental Problems?
Yes, cigars and pipes do cause dental problems like cigarettes. According to a study in Journal of American Dental Association, people who smoke cigarettes tend to have tooth and jaw bone loss at the same rate as in cigar smokers. People who smoke pipe also experience similar risks. Moreover, they also have a risk of oral and throat (pharyngeal) cancers. Other effects include stained teeth, bad breath and gum disease.
Are Smokeless Tobacco Products Safer?
No. Smokeless tobacco products consist of around 28 chemicals. This increases the risk of oral, throat and esophagus cancer.
Are there special dental products I can use as a smoker?
There are different toothpastes that are used for people who smoke. These should be used carefully as such toothpastes are abrasive (coarse) compared to the normal toothpastes. Your dentist will advise you about which toothpastes is best to use. Also, there are whitening toothpastes available, which help in removing staining and improve your aesthetics.
Having your teeth cleaned professionally by a dentist or a hygienist will improve the state of your gums considerably. Also you will be instructed how to maintain your oral health by your dentist or hygienist.
What about mouthwashes?
Smokers usually tend to have bad breath. To overcome this they try different types of mouthwashes to get better breath. Mouthwashes are only temporary solution. They usually work for a short time and disguise the real problem that lies in the gums.
To get help with your bad breath and possible gum disease you should seek professional help from a dentist or a hygienist.
How often should I visit my dentist?
It is essential that you visit your dentist regularly. Most patients will see a dentist once a year but patients with higher risk of getting decay and gum inflammations are advised to see their dentist at least every six months or more often than that.
It is also important for smokers to see their dentist regularly to detect early signs or oral cancer that is linked to smoking.
Australian Dental Journal published new evidence that suggests that wine tasters and people that expose their teeth to wine several times a day might be at risk of dental erosion and increased tooth sensitivity.
It was researchers at the University of Adelaide’s School of Dentistry that experimented with specimens of enamel and wine. They submerged the enamel repeatedly for one minute at a time in white wine to simulate wine tasting.
They found that after only 10 short submersions the enamel started to soften and started to become vulnerable to mechanical wear.
Study co-author Dr Saribin Ranjitkar said “With professional wine tasters and winemakers tasting anywhere from 20 to 150 wines per day, and wine judges tasting up to 200 wines per day during wine shows, this represents a significant risk to their oral health,"
"Our results reinforce the need for people working in the profession to take early, preventative measures, in consultation with their dentists, to minimise the risks to their teeth."
So if you are planning to swish some wine around your mouth, make sure you protect your teeth by rinsing with fluoridated mouthwash.
So, if you are a wine taster, what can you do to prevent damaging your teeth?
“Remineralising and refraining from vigorous brushing” is the best protection against enamel wear, Sue Bastian, who is an Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, told Health Canal.
"Typically, the night before a wine tasting session it is best to apply remineralising agents in the form of calcium, phosphate and fluoride to coat and protect the teeth. The morning of a wine tasting, we advise not brushing the teeth or, if that's too unpalatable, chewing gum to stimulate saliva, which is naturally protective.
After a wine tasting, the teeth are likely to be much softer, so we recommend rinsing with water, and when it comes time to clean the teeth, just putting some toothpaste on your finger and cleaning with that. Cleaning with a brush when teeth are soft runs the risk of damaging the enamel."
Demineralisation of the tooth surface occurs when minerals like calcium are dissolved away from the tooth’s hard surface. Remineralisation is the process that reverses demineralisation with help of, for example the fluoride in drinking water, toothpaste or mouthwashes.
This article was published in January 4, 2016 (Pilcrow Magazine)
According to the British Orthodontic Society1, more than one million people are looking to braces to bring a beautiful smile back to their faces, rather than undergoing alternative invasive treatments.
New research by oral health charity the British Dental Health Foundation2 also shows that one in five people now spend more money per month on oral care products, compared with hair products, skincare, fragrances and cosmetics.
Clinically recognised, virtually invisible orthodontic treatment, Invisalign, has reported a 25 per cent increase in demand over the last five years, with the average age of people seeking braces shifting to persons 25 and over – evidence of crooked teeth no longer being an issue solely tackled in your teens. Be it parents, students or businessmen, a set of pearly whites is the new coveted trend.
Braces are a way of straightening or moving teeth to improve their appearance and the way they work. They can also help to look after the long-term health of the teeth and gums.
With the treatment on the rise, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, discusses why braces are no longer considered a stigma.
Dr Carter says: “The significant advances in technology mean you can now wear braces without them being blindingly obvious. Celebrities are often seen as role models in society, and the visible standard of their oral hygiene is no exception. With many stars often improving their own smile through cosmetic dentistry, it’s no wonder we are now seeing a growing trend within the British public.
“A direct reflection of this can be seen in the success of certain dental brands, for example interest in Invisalign, the virtually invisible way to straighten teeth, has grown by 25 per cent in the last five years alone.
Jamie Morley, UK & Ireland General Manager at Invisalign, comments: “Working with over 2 million people worldwide to transform their smiles, Invisalign is dedicated to improving oral health and leading innovation in orthodontic technology. As such, we are proud to be sponsors of National Smile Month 2013 and help towards driving awareness of dental hygiene across the UK.”
It is important not forget the basics of good oral hygiene, and National Smile Month is a great chance to brush up on those basics. The campaign, which runs from 20 May to 20 June, reminds us all about the importance of brushing for two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste, cutting down on how often you eat and drink sugary foods and drinks and visiting your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
The study concluded that mothers who were more able to handle stresses in their environment had children with better oral health. According to the research, mothers with higher maternal factors when their child was three years old resulted in a better oral hygiene for their child, more visits to the dentist and more preventive treatments.
The research speculated that mothers with better maternal instincts are more attentive to the oral hygiene and dental needs of their children, leading to a reduced risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
The early years of children’s lives are a time of rapid development, none more so than their teeth. Even prior to entering pre-school, a child’s learning and understanding is largely based on experiences from within their family and home environment. That is why Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, believes the study reinforces the importance of ensuring good oral health for your child as early as possible.
Dr Carter said: “The study builds on previous work that suggests mothers have a key role to play when it comes to the development of their child’s oral hygiene. What mums should remember is that looking after your baby’s oral health starts during pregnancy.
“Good nutrition for the mother during those nine months is crucial for your baby’s teeth to develop correctly. It is also worth knowing that due to hormonal changes your gums may bleed more easily, so the Foundation advises more regular visits to the dentist and a higher level of oral health.
“It is not just a child’s mum who can help their oral health. The responsibility to improve oral health lies with each and every one of us. Poor dental health is constantly being linked with a variety of diseases, while too many people do not visit their dentist as often as recommended.
“If we can reach out to the non-attenders and encourage them to follow the Foundation's three key messages, of brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cutting down how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visiting the dentist regularly there is no reason the oral health of the nation and future generations cannot improve even more.”
The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, analysed data from a long-term study involving the dental records of 224 teenagers and questionnaires from their mothers.
The campaign, which is run by dental health charity, The British Dental Health Foundation, promotes the value and benefits of developing and maintaining good oral health. This year nationwide activities have seen everything from oral health promotion bus tours, school visits, toothbrush amnesties, open days at dental practices, ‘Smiley’ giveaways in some of London’s busiest tube stations, and even Smileys invading Tanzania with the Bridge2Aid dental team.
This year National Smile Month has benefited from the backing and sponsorship of Listerine, Oral-B, Wrigley and Steradent, Bupa, Dencover, Denplan, Save Water Save Money, SleepRight, and Smile-0n. The campaign has also had, for the first time, a significant presence on the high street with participation from Aldi, Argos, Wilkinson and Lloyds Pharmacy.
Chief Executive of the Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said: “The success of National Smile Month depends on individuals and organisations wanting to get involved with the campaign, and spread the messages about good oral health. This year has seen an even greater number participants and I would like to thank everyone who has taken part.
“This the year the Foundation is celebrating its 40th year of improving oral health, and National Smile Month has played a key role in doing that. Although the campaign has come to a close, it is important that we keep educating and reminding people, that oral health is an all-year round necessity and is not confined to our campaign.”