How Smoking Harms Your Smile (Beyond Stained Teeth)

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Chances are if you smoke cigarettes that you already know that doing so can stain your teeth to a dark color, like yellow or brown. Unfortunately, that's not where the problems end for the appearance of your mouth. Regularly smoking cigarettes can harm your mouth in many other ways, many of which will impact your appearance. Read on to learn what these ways are and how you can correct them.

Receding Gums

Smoking cigarettes causes damage to the gums, including limiting the amount of blood flow they receive. As a result, gums will often recede away from the teeth, exposing more of the tooth underneath. Unfortunately, this can make you appear "long in the tooth", which is typically associated with being older than you are. This is because many people experience receding gums as they age, so many people associate the appearance of receding gums with old age.

Discolored Under Gums

As your gums pull back, the teeth underneath are at risk of becoming stained. While this initially might not seem like more of a problem than simply having your teeth stained, this part of your teeth is particularly vulnerable to staining and damage.

The part of your tooth that's normally hidden under your gums when your gums are healthy isn't protected the same way the exposed part of your teeth are. This part of your tooth lacks the strong enamel layer that protects your inner tooth from damage. Unfortunately, this means that any exposure to cigarette smoking, as well as standard wear and tear and acidic food and drink can seriously harm your teeth and cause your teeth to look worse.

Get Help

If you've noticed that you're having some of these problems, you should consider visiting a cosmetic dentist. While maintaining your overall oral health is a good idea, cosmetic dentists specialize in reversing cosmetic damage done to smiles.

For receding gums, your dentist will most likely assess the damage and determine if you need your gums surgically restored or not. If they have only receded slightly, your gums may simply need some cleaning and regular oral care to reverse the damage. However, in severe instances, a surgical graft to replace the missing gum tissue may be necessary.

Once your gums have healed, the excessive parts of your teeth that are exposed will be safely covered again. In the meantime, however, your dentist will carefully clean these parts of your teeth. They may also whiten them professionally in a way that won't harm the sensitive exposed portions of the tooth.

If you want to avoid damaging your oral health, it's a good idea to stop smoking. However, even if you can't or don't want to, you can still take steps to keep your mouth healthy and your smile pretty. Talk to a cosmetic dentist like those at Kemper Pond Dental if you're dissatisfied with the appearance of your smile.