The Effects of Smoking and Alcohol on Your Teeth

Alcohol and cigarettes have become an integral part of our social life but they also have a huge impact on your oral health. The effects  of alcohol and cigarettes range from Tooth loss and gum diseases to oral cancer which can have dire if not fatal consequences to your overall health. Below is a brief description of the effects of smoking and alcohol on our teeth and overall oral health:

Tooth loss and gum disease

Tobacco is often seen as a leading cause of both tooth loss and gum disease. What many smokers don’t know is that tobacco and nicotine constrict the capillaries of your gums. By reducing bloodflow to your gums, this impacts how the bone attaches to your teeth and their soft-tissue, which can contribute to gum disease.

Tooth Decay

For many patients who regularly consume alcohol, tooth decay is a very real threat. This is because most alcoholic drinks contain a fair amount of sugar and acid, both which are substances that actively eat away at the enamel of your teeth — which is the first step of tooth decay.

Nocturnal Grinding and Clenching

Bruxism, also known as “Tooth Grinding” can lead to the extreme wear and abrasion that can impact your bite, lead to broken teeth, contribute to cracks, and impact your overall oral health. While many substances like Marijuana and Alcohol can cause grinding, the dry mouth often associated with marijuana also tends to exacerbate the damage of bruxism.

Staining and bad breath

Smoking of every kind can contribute to stale, bad breath and the buildup of tartar. Tartar is the building block of plaque and tooth decay — which ultimately can lead to cavities, tooth loss, and a wide variety of dental problems.

Oral Cancer from Smoking and Alcohol

It is well known that tobacco contains a number of carcinogens and is one of the leading causes of mouth, throat, and lung cancer. By excessively consuming alcohol and smoking tobacco and marijuana, you put yourself at a much greater risk for oral cancer. For this reason, it’s important to remain aware of the non-smokable forms of these substances, but remember — chewing tobacco (“dip”) is no healthier for your mouth than smokable tobacco.

So what? what do you do now if you enjoy your glass of alcohol or smoking cigarettes? The best option is to quit; quit smoking and drinking alcohol. If you don’t see that as an option then your best chance is to make sure that your oral health habits are solid. Meaning you brush your teeth after every meal, rinse your mouth with water after every drink, snack on fresh fruits and drink a lots of water; and finally make sure you visit your dentist frequently.

If you have been smoking and drinking alcohol you may want to pay us a visit for a comprehensive oral examination to identify any effects of smoking and alcohol on your teeth and overall health. For a comprehensive oral examination visit our rooms at Kempton Square (Kempton Park) next to Pick ‘n Pay or call 011 394 8753 to book an appointment.

We look forward to brightening your smile! #KemptonSmile #YourSmile


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