Healthcare and dental professionals alike advise against smoking, but it can be a difficult addiction to kick. Although anytime is a good time to quit, your dentist will recommend breaking the habit sooner rather than later if you’re getting dentures. Not only can tobacco damage your new set of teeth, but it can also significantly increase your risk of serious oral and general health problems. Here’s what can happen if you smoke and wear your dentures.
Risks of Smoking for Denture Wearers
When you inhale smoke, your gums harden as a natural defense to protect the soft tissues. Whether smoking or chewing tobacco, your gums can shrink and recede over time, which can change the way your dentures fit.
Poorly fitting dentures can cause sores, inflammation, and infections. Research has found several health concerns linked to ill-fitting dentures, including an increased risk of oral cancer. With tobacco connected to 90% of oral cancer cases, slipping dentures can increase your risk even more.
Smoking causes the blood vessels in your mouth and body to constrict, which restricts blood flow to your gums. As a result, it can take longer for your gums to heal and increase your risk of infections.
Besides complications for your oral health and general wellness, smoking can damage your dentures, shortening their lifespan and compromising their aesthetics. In addition to discoloration, you can also battle chronic bad breath.
Tips to Stop Smoking
Once you stop smoking, your gums will regenerate to restore a soft layer to support your dentures. It will stop gum and bone loss to protect your oral structures while also maintaining your dentures’ fit. You’ll significantly reduce your risk of many cancers and health issues, like cardiovascular disease or respiratory illness.
Breaking your addiction to nicotine can be challenging, but don’t be discouraged. Here are some effective tips to help you along the way:
- Nicotine Replacement Therapy: Your physician can prescribe drugs designed to stop smoking. You can also purchase OTC nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges.
- Avoid Triggers: Identify triggers and learn to avoid them to prevent relapsing.
- Delay Technique: When the urge to light up hits, try to delay your craving by distracting yourself.
- Exercise: Physical activity can distract you from your cravings and keep you busy.
- Practice Relaxation Techniques: When you stop smoking, it can cause stress levels to rise. Try new relaxation methods, like yoga, deep breathing, or listening to music.
- Get Support: Join a stop-smoking program and find support online.
It’s not unusual to fail several times before finally saying goodbye to tobacco for good. Persistence and motivation are key to investing in a healthier mouth and body.
About Dr. Katherine Whitaker
Dr. Whitaker earned her dental degree at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and has regularly pursued continuing education in advanced services, like IV sedation and general dentistry. She is a proud member of several professional organizations, including the American Dental Association and the Kentucky Dental Association. Request an appointment through our website or call (606) 619-9592.