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Reasons to Quit: 7 Things Smoking does to your Mouth

Reasons to Quit: 7 Things Smoking does to your Mouth

You already know that smoking kills, but do you know all the awful things it can do to your mouth?

The chemicals from cigarette smoke invade the body, ravaging the lungs, and increasing a smoker's risk of various cancers, heart disease and stroke. But, don't forget all those chemicals are going to damage your mouth as well.

Oral Health Foundation experts have revealed seven scary ways that smoking is affecting your mouth - and how you can avoid it by quitting:

1. Unsightly yellow teeth

In a relatively short period of time, the effects of regularly lighting up will begin to show. The nicotine and tar in tobacco will stain your teeth, turning them an unsightly shade of yellow. Heavy smokers often complain that their teeth are almost brown after years of smoking. But, this is just the beginning of the toll your habit will have on your mouth.

2. Gum disease and tooth loss

Not only does smoking stain your teeth, but it also affects how your teeth connect to your gums, and the bone in your jaw. As a result, smokers are at heightened risk of suffering gum disease. Smoking severely affects the tissue in the gums, which makes them far more vulnerable to infection. It can also lead to bone loss in the jaw, and can eat away at the bone that holds your teeth in place. When this bone structure is weakened, smokers are at much greater risk of losing their teeth.

3. Build-up of bacteria

Puffing away each day also promotes the build-up of bacteria, or plaque, all over the teeth. This can trigger decay and result in cavities - increasing the need for an unpleasant trip to the dentist, no doubt. But, plaque caused by smoking can also affect the tissues supporting the roots of the teeth, beneath the gum, and weakens the bone supporting the tooth.

4. Scaly teeth

When plaque stays on the teeth for a long time due to not cleaning your teeth properly it hardens into a scaly like substance called tartar. Smokers are more likely to suffer from tartar which often leads to receding gums and gum disease.

5. Mouth and tongue cancer

Every cigarette contains thousands of chemicals. No smoker can claim to be ignorant to the fact their habit drastically increases their risk of cancer. But, for many their automatic assumption is smoking causes lung cancer. Correct, but lighting up also increases the risk of other forms of the disease - and accounts for more than one in four cancer deaths in the UK. On the long list of cancers smoking can trigger is mouth cancer. Smoking transforms a person's saliva into a deadly cocktail, which damages the cells in the mouth turning them cancerous. The addiction is responsible for causing roughly two in every three cases of the disease.

6. Bad breath

‘Smoker's breath’ is often one of the first problems you develop when smoking. Cigarettes leave smoke particles lingering in the mouth, throat and lungs long after you have finished your cigarette.

7. Spotty mouth

Smoking often causes a white or grey patch to develop on the tongue, cheek, or the floor of the mouth, known as leukoplakia. This happens due to the constant irritation of the soft tissues inside the mouth due to smoking.

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