Improving Your Dental Care

What Nicotine Is Doing To Your Oral Health

You know that nicotine is bad for your lungs, but you may not realize just how detrimental it can be to your oral health. Whether you prefer to smoke, vape, or chew your tobacco, there are adverse side effects involved with any of these methods. 

Oral Cancer

One of the scariest things that can happen to people who use nicotine is oral cancer. Oral cancer can exhibit itself as sores on the tongue, cheeks, roof of the mouth, or even in the throat. If you notice that you have any white spots or lesions in your mouth that aren't healing on their own, then you may want to schedule an appointment with your dentist. During your exam, your dentist will look at your mouth and determine whether or not you may have cancerous lesions. 

Periodontal Disease

According to studies, those who use any type of nicotine products are more likely to experience periodontal disease. Specifically, patients are more likely to have their gums separate from their teeth which can cause a host of issues including premature tooth loss and decay. If you notice that your gums are swollen, tender, and bleed a lot, then this may be a large indication that you have periodontal disease.  The tricky thing about losing a tooth to nicotine induce periodontal disease is that your gums often won't be strong enough to replace them with something like a dental implant. 

Oral Infections

When you smoke, it reduces your body's ability to fight off infections as well; especially in the mouth. If you are a smoker, you may notice that you get oral infections a lot more often and have to be treated with antibiotics. 

Cleft Lip and Palate

If you are a heavy nicotine user and are pregnant, there can be some extreme adverse effects for your unborn baby; specifically, they may develop cleft palate or cleft lip which is a deformity that essentially causes a gap in area above the upper lip. Although this can typically be fixed with surgeries, it can leave your infant with a permanent scar and if it's left untreated, it can result in a variety of issues including infections and the inability to properly digest food. 

As a nicotine user, one of the best things that you can do is schedule regular exams with your dentist. While they are doing your teeth cleaning every six months, they will also inspect your mouth for a variety of things including sores, infections, or even gum issues. If you want to learn more about how your dentist can help you get a healthier smile, reach out to them today.