If you are thinking about starting orthodontic treatment, odds are you also care about keeping your teeth healthy. One important health concern when it comes to teeth is smoking and vaping with braces. Here’s how this habit can affect your smile, both in terms of appearances and underlying health concerns.
Higher Bacteria Levels from Smoking and Vaping with Braces
Studies have shown that smokers are prone to having higher levels of bacteria in their mouth, specifically on the teeth and gums. This unhealthy bacteria buildup can lead to a number of oral health problems, including tooth decay and gum disease.
Some of this bacterial buildup can be linked to instances of dryness in the mouth. Normally, your saliva helps get rid of some bacteria buildup. But with reduced levels of saliva due to smoking, you are more vulnerable to bacterial accumulation.
Smoking and vaping have also been shown to increase inflammation in the gums due to reduced blood flow and irritation. Also, as bacteria build up in crevices around the gums, you become more vulnerable to gum disease, which leads to even worse gum inflammation. As gum disease progresses, it can escalate to the point where your gums start to recede and separate from the teeth. This can lead to some teeth needing to be extracted.
Another way smoking directly causes problems with your teeth involves your cells. Smoking and vaping are both linked to cell death in the gums and bone structures, effectively weakening your tissue and your teeth. So not only will your teeth be dealing with increased bacteria as a result of smoking, but they will also be weaker at the same time.
While a relatively minor consequence in comparison to gum disease and tooth decay, one major concern with smoking or vaping is teeth-staining. People who smoke or vape often find that their teeth become yellow over time and can even turn a brown color. If you smoke while in braces, you could find starkly different tones on your teeth when you get your braces removed.
Smoking vs. Vaping
While vaping is sometimes considered to be a safer “alternative” to smoking cigarettes, there are still plenty of health concerns. Both forms of smoking involve tobacco and nicotine and can be addictive. There are also concerns about chemicals of certain vape flavors, not to mention the occasional occurrence of e-cigarettes exploding. Overall, current research seems to point to e-cigarettes being slightly less harmful than conventional cigarettes, although they are definitely not recommended due to health concerns.
Smoking is a complex issue due to its addictive nature, which can make quitting difficult. Overall, smoking is highly discouraged for patients who want healthy teeth and who want to stay healthy overall..
During your initial consultation here at Milnor Orthodontics, we can answer your questions about how smoking affects your teeth and go over your options for improving your smile. Contact us today!