There's another danger associated with puffing cigarettes that's often overlooked: its effects on dental health.
Margielyn Jorgio, a doctor of dental medicine, says smoking is one of the primary reasons for yellow teeth.
"The responsible content for this stain is the nicotine. When nicotine is combined with oxygen molecules, it becomes yellowish in hue. Every time you puff, the nicotine leaches on the opening of enamel which causes discoloration," she explains.
It can be easily removed by brushing teeth immediately. However, others don't attend to their teeth ASAP which not only causes stubborn stains, but also bigger risks and complications.
"Aside from staining, one could suffer from gum and periodontal diseases. Smoking also causes tooth decay that can lead to tooth loss if not treated early due to the retention of plaque," Jorgio says.
In some cases, others lose their sense of taste. "This is because nicotine and other toxic chemicals interact with your taste buds in a way that they lose their shape and become flatter. They don't disappear; they just get worse at doing their job."
Smoking may also compromise your immune system, causing side effects such as reduced ability to recover after oral surgery.
"Smoking has the ability to decrease the healing process of oral mucosa. This why most often it takes longer period for your tooth socket, which is in charge of holding your tooth, to recover after extraction or any other surgery," Jorgio says.
Smoking—especially smokeless tobacco—increases your risk of developing oral cancer, too.
The best thing to do: quit smoking. Otherwise, you'll need to visit your dentist more often to have your oral health checked regularly.
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