Over 24.8 million men and 21.1 Million women in the United States smoke cigarettes. It is a well-known fact that smoking kills, in fact someone dies every 8 seconds from tobacco use.  But how does tobacco affect you when you are still alive? San Antonio cosmetic dentist Dr. John Moore lists some of the side effects of smoking below…

Black Hairy Tongue:

Occurs when the papillae (bumps on the tongue) grow longer and the excess tissue retains the stains of food and tobacco. The surface of the tongue actually changes in color to a very dark brown or even black. If you see this occurring start brushing your tongue twice a day and stay hydrated with clear liquids. Also smoking cessation and avoidance of dark food and liquids will helps to resolve the condition faster.

Halitosis: AKA BAD BREATH!

Halitosis is described as noticeably unpleasant odors exhaled in breathing or talking. Having bad breath affects social habits, self-confidence and personal relationships. Smoking is a large contributor to halitosis and using mints, gum and mouthwashes just temporarily covers up the odor. Tongue brushing and good daily oral hygiene of brushing and flossing will help reduce the very unpleasant odor of cigarettes.

Smoker’s lines:

Smoking causes a decrease in collagen production and especially causes premature fine lines around the lips. These lines can be greatly reduced by the cessation of smoking. However CDA does offer Dermal Fillers that can eliminate those ugly smoker’s lines. This is especially a great treatment option for smoker’s that have recently quit and want to undue the damage.

Gum Disease:

If you are a smoker you are at high risk for developing chronic periodontal disease. The good news is that once you stop smoking you will gradually reduce the risk of getting gum disease. Smoking cigarettes reduces the blood flow, oxygen and nutrients to the gingival tissue, increasing the risk for infection and gum disease. In addition to causing tooth loss, and bone loss periodontal disease is also linked to heart disease, stroke, uncontrolled diabetes, respiratory disease and premature babies. Research has found that the more you smoke per day the more likely you are to develop gum disease. Gum disease is preventable and if you are a smoker who is thinking about quitting please talk to your dentist for help and advice.

Xerostomia AKA Dry mouth:

Dry mouth is also a side effect from smoking. It is the sensation of there being a less than normal amount of saliva in your mouth. Saliva is a natural antimicrobial, pH stabilizer and a lubricator for food. Less than normal amounts of saliva can cause malnutrition, dental problems and speech problems. Some common symptoms of dry mouth include difficulty swallowing, speaking, and taste disorders. There are oral moisturizers and mouthwashes that can help with the sensation but there is no definitive cure.