It’s no secret that smoking has its accompanying problems, not the least of which is challenges with dental hygiene. The use of any and all tobacco products can lead to teeth that are dull, discolored, and decayed, especially if a good oral hygiene routine is not observed. But the truth is that a good oral hygiene routine is only the half of it. If you’re a smoker, you need to go above and beyond in your dental hygiene regimen just to keep up with the folks who don’t use tobacco products at all. Here are some tips from family dentists in Clearwater and throughout the country for smokers and users of other tobacco products about going the extra mile to keep your teeth healthy.
If you’re a smoker, a regular toothpaste may not be sufficient to keep your mouth, teeth, and gums clean. Cigarettes contain tar that can stain your teeth, and that’s why everyday toothpastes, typically meant for non-smokers, may not do what’s necessary to get your teeth clean. They also often don’t have the capacity to eliminate odors that can occur from using cigarettes and other tobacco products. Try a toothpaste made especially for smokers, as these have stronger abrasives for cleaning. However, if you’re someone who uses a smoker’s toothpaste, it’s important that you brush gently; as these often contain harsher abrasives that can harm enamel if hard brushing is done.
Toothbrushes are not all created equal, especially if you’re a smoker. Smokers have special needs when it comes to brushing, largely because of the tar that is contained within cigarettes and other tobacco products. If you’re a smoker, it’s important that you purchase a toothbrush that can remove stains, and this often means that a soft-bristled toothbrush may not be sufficient. However, many hard-bristled toothbrushes may be too firm, especially if they’re paired with a smoker’s toothpaste that may contain harsher abrasives than regular toothpastes. Try a medium-bristled brush that includes a section that can reach all the deepest crevices of your mouth and teeth.
A well-balanced diet is important for everyone, but it’s an especially vital part of a smoker’s dental hygiene. If you’re a tobacco user, try to refrain from consuming foods that will exacerbate dental hygiene challenges. For instance, foods and beverages that contain caffeine will only add to your potential oral hygiene issues if you’re someone who smokes. Additionally, though they may be great for your diet, darker-colored foods such as berries can give you an extra challenge when brushing. However, if you adhere to the other tips on this list, eating berries and other healthy foods that are dark in color shouldn’t be a problem. And, these types of foods are recommended for smokers because of their high nutritional content, as smoking can rob the body of vital nutrients.
Mouthwash isn’t necessary, but it definitely adds an extra bonus for a smoker’s dental hygiene habits. Smoking causes bacteria buildup within the mouth that rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash can combat.
One of the most important things you can do as a smoker, not just for your dental health but for your overall health, is to visit your dentist on a regular basis. For non-smokers, visiting the dentist twice every year for an exam and cleaning is necessary to keep teeth in optimum form. For smokers, however, many dentists in Clearwater and throughout the country recommend an extra yearly exam and cleaning. Those extra cleanings are very beneficial, as the use of tobacco products causes more bacteria buildup that generally won’t be found on the teeth of non-smokers. However, an extra cleaning isn’t the only reason for an extra visit to the dentist. Using tobacco products, especially snuff or chew, increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, and your dentist will need to keep a close watch on any changes that may occur in your mouth.
If you’re a smoker, you won’t be surprised that most dentists, doctors, and other healthcare providers would recommend that you quit over all other recommendations regarding health or hygiene. After all, smoking is a leading factor in many health conditions. Additionally, no dental care regimen can top a smoking cessation program. But all smokers, regardless of their current or future plans to quit, need to educate themselves on the extra care they must take to keep their teeth and all surrounding structures in good condition. If you’re a user of any tobacco products, contact a family dentist for more information on the proper care for your teeth in order to keep your smile as healthy as it can be.