How Smoking, Alcohol and Drugs Affect Teeth
The damaging effects of smoking, alcohol, and drugs on overall health are well known, but the dental damage caused by these substances is mentioned less often. With the connection between oral and overall health, these effects are important to keep in mind. Here is an overview of how these substances affect oral health and what you can do to protect your teeth and gums.
Common Effects on Oral Health
Smoking, alcohol, and drugs all can promote cavities, cracked teeth, and teeth sensitivity. Aesthetic issues, including tooth stains and halitosis, can also occur. Dry mouth, a common effect of these substances, is a major risk factor for many oral health problems.
Risks of oral cancer have also been linked to smoking, drinking, and drug use. These cancers affect not only the mouth but also the throat, tongue, and lips. With increased and more prolonged use of these substances comes a higher risk of oral cancer.
The easiest way to protect teeth and gums from these substances is simply to quit. However, taking other steps can also reduce risks. Minimizing sugar intake by drinking water instead of soda and choosing sugar-free candy over sugar-sweetened varieties is a good start. Brushing should be done every day, and check-ups should be scheduled at least twice a year.
Many factors place the teeth and gums at high risk of disease. Substance use, like many other factors, can be controlled for better oral health throughout life. At a consultation with our dentist, you can learn more about how these substances affect dental health.
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