Tobacco does no favors for your teeth. But good dental care can help you battle the stains that come from its use.
According to the American Dental Association, tobacco use can cause dental health problems including:
- stained teeth and tongue
- dulled sense of taste and smell
- slow healing after a tooth extraction or other surgery
- difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental problems
- gum disease
- oral cancer
The best dental care steps you can take is, of course, to quit tobacco or never start using it. According to the ADA:
Quitting is the only way to decrease your risk of these and other tobacco-related health problems. The addictive quality of nicotine, which is found in cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco, can make this especially difficult. That’s why it’s important to have a plan and a support network, people to help you stick to your plan. Write down your reasons for quitting. Exercising, chewing gum and keeping yourself occupied can help you quit. Talk to your dentist or doctor to see if the medications available would help you to stop using tobacco.
Meanwhile, there are some steps you can take to fight such problems as staining. As we wrote in this post:
Luckily, tobacco stains are extrinsic, meaning that they are on the outer layer of the tooth surface and can be removed. Maintaining a good dental care routine by brushing at least twice a day, flossing each night before brushing and using antiseptic mouthwash can help to prevent heavy staining and tar build-up, but it will not completely protect your teeth from discoloration caused by tobacco use. If you are unable to brush after each tobacco exposure, rinse thoroughly with water to remove as many harmful substances from your mouth as possible. It is important to visit your dentist for regular check-ups.