We’re aware of the dangers of smoking, but its impact on oral health isn’t always discussed. Smoking exposes you to a higher risk of mouth infection. The best way to protect yourself is to quit the habit, but that’s easier said than done.
But, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Smokers can still take preventive measures to reduce harmful effects by following these oral hygiene tips.
1. Brush Properly
Smoking can make you more susceptible to gum disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you’re twice the risk for gum disease compared to non-smokers. You need to commit to your oral hygiene routine even more. Brush properly at least twice a day and use a good quality toothbrush.
2. Choose the Appropriate Toothpaste
Consider using a toothpaste specially formulated for smokers. There are toothpastes targeting nicotine and tobacco stains to keep your teeth white. There are also the fluoride toothpaste variants that protect the gums. If you’re interested in teeth whitening treatments, let your dentist know.
3. Avoid Stain-Causing Food and Beverages
Reduce intake of highly acidic food and beverages. Coffee, for example, can stain your teeth and attack your enamel. Giving it up can protect your teeth from potential damage. If you must have your cuppa, drink water afterward to help wash away any residue.
4. Eat More Tooth-friendly Food
Opt for food high in calcium and fibre. They help strengthen the enamel, neutralize mouth acids, and act as a natural teeth cleaner. Trade some of your sweets and starchy snacks for crunchy fruits and leafy green vegetables.
5. Clean Your Tongue
Your tongue is a potential breeding ground for bacteria, resulting in bad breath and a dulled sense of taste. Remember to always clean your tongue when you brush your teeth.
6. Rinse with a Mouthwash
According to a study, cigarette smoking promotes the growth of bacteria. To help counter this, rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. Swish it in your mouth properly before spitting. You can ask your dentist for mouthwash recommendations.
7. Maintain your Dental Appointments
Timely professional dental cleanings are crucial for your oral care. Your hygienist and dentist are a team working to remove tartar and debris buildup and check your mouth for potential dental issues, including oral cancer.
8. Do a Regular Self-Check
Examine your mouth between dental appointments and be diligent with your oral hygiene routine at home. Advise your dentist if you ever feel pain, numbness, or discomfort. Look out for bleeding, swelling, lesions, or sores in your mouth. If you find anything unusual, let your dentist know.
Butting Out for Good with the Help of Your Dental Team
Of course, butting out for good is the best way to prevent smoking-related oral health issues. If you’re struggling and need help to quit smoking, talk to your dental team or physician about smoking cessation strategies.
If you don’t see yourself quitting anytime soon, you can still protect your mouth with the help of these dental care tips.
For more oral hygiene information, contact Rundle Dental.