Smoking and Your Teeth
I often think about some of my family members who have smoked, and one of the first things my mind is drawn to is their dental health. In my memories, I recall the smell of their houses filled with cigarette smoke and the likes, and sometimes I can even picture the trails of smoke lingering in the dim light within their homes. More than anything, I’m reminded of my parents washing our clothes almost as soon as we got home since the smoke would seep into it and make our clothes smell like nothing else but cigarettes.
But back to their dental health. I remember my grandparents having less teeth and I was never sure if that was because of their age or because they were heavy smokers. As I’ve come to find out, though, it was their smoking habits that caused their teeth to fall out.
So how exactly does this even come to happen?
First and foremost, smoking will stain your teeth yellow because of the nicotine and tar within the tobacco. This is one of the first things you’ll notice if you’re a smoker. It can get to the point that your teeth will almost look brown if you smoke long enough.
Smoking also leads to gum disease since smokers are more likely to produce bacterial plaque in their mouths (which is the main cause of gingivitis). Also, there’s a lack of oxygen in smokers’ bloodstreams, meaning their gums are less likely to heal. So it’s only natural that smoking would exacerbate the problems non-smokers would have since it speeds up the gum disease process. In fact, gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults, so it’s no wonder smokers are more likely to have less teeth later on.
The other thing to consider is that smoking can lead to mouth cancer. While most people think of lung and throat cancer first when they hear about cigarettes, mouth cancer is just as much of a risk for smokers.
What to do
There are actually certain toothpastes out there for smokers, believe it or not. These pastes are usually more abrasive, meaning you should be careful when using them. These help with both staining and plaque in order to negate the heightened affects of gum disease and staining caused by smoking.
Overall, your best bet if you’re worried about your teeth is to avoid smoking cigarettes in the first place. While pure tobacco isn’t the cause of most of these things, it’s the additives that go in cigarettes that will be your teeth’s downfall.
What Causes Canker Sores?
Canker sores are an enigma. Everyone gets them, yet no one really seems to know where they came from. And the crazy thing is they’re fairly common. The only thing people really seem to know is that they’re mouth ulcers that can pop up on your cheeks, inner lips, tongue, gums, and even the roof of your mouth.
For me, I’ve had a long history with canker sores. While I haven’t experience hardly any in the last 7 or 8 years of my life, I was quite accustomed to them growing up, especially from middle school through high school, experiencing at least one canker sore at least once a month. The crazy thing is that my mom and brother also had them this often back in that period of time, despite canker sores not being contagious.
To begin, there are three different types of canker sores, those being minor canker sores, major canker sores, and herpetiform canker sores.
Minor canker sores are the most common and the kind you’ll recognize most, being small and round with a white or yellow center. Major canker sores aren’t as common, and they’re larger, deeper, and have weird edges. Finally, herpetiform canker sores are oddly shaped and very tiny but occur in large clusters.
So what’s the cause?
Like I mentioned before, the good thing is they’re not contagious, nor are they a cause of herpes (as a lot of people tend to think). There isn’t exactly a specific cause, but some factors may make you more at risk, including trauma to the mouth, lack of vitamins and minerals, certain food sensitivities, and other diseases.
Are you at risk?
The short answer is yes, anyone can develop these sores. While some people only get them a few times a year, others can get them continually. But according to some sources, women are more prone to developing canker sores than men. Additionally, if your family has a history of them, you’re at a higher risk to have them more often as well.
Just as well, anyone can experience mouth injuries that are unforeseen, which can potentially cause canker sores to develop, just as unexpected diseases can have unexpected effects on your mouth as well.
Ultimately, these sores are still quite a mystery to us, so pinpointing exactly what causes them isn’t the easiest thing in the world. The good thing is, there are different treatments that seem to help a lot of people, so even if you’re experiencing a bad bout of canker sores, you’re typically covered with some over the counter medications out there.