6 Oral Health Tips for Smokers and Ex-Smokers

Just because you smoke or used to smoke doesn't mean you can't do something to prevent bad breath, tooth decay, teeth discoloration, and gum disease. While the best way to maintain your oral health would be to quit smoking if you still do, that may be easier said than done. Below are some of the best oral health tips to follow if you're a smoker or ex-smoker. 

1. Brush and Floss Regularly 

While this is a requirement for everyone, smokers are more prone to oral health issues such as tooth stains, tooth loss, and gum disease. Make it a habit to brush and floss at least twice a day to prevent the harm caused by smoking. 

It's advisable to brush right after smoking to remove the tar and other chemicals left on the teeth. The more you wait, the more the chemicals set in, making them harder to remove. Don't forget to clean the tongue as it can harbor lots of bacteria that cause bad breath and compromise your sense of taste. 

2. Use an Appropriate Toothbrush and Toothpaste

In order to tackle the tobacco stains and clear away damaging substances, use a toothbrush with soft bristles. It should be flexible enough to reach all areas of your mouth for a thorough clean. However, in the eagerness to remove your tooth stains, avoid the temptation of brushing aggressively as it can damage your teeth and gums.

Use toothpaste specifically made for smokers if possible. Such kinds of toothpaste have stronger chemicals and more intense mint flavoring to fight off bacteria and improve the freshness of your breath. 

3. Rinse With a Mouthwash

One of the biggest complaints amongst smokers and ex-smokers is their bad breath. Rinsing your mouth daily with mouthwash can eliminate bad breath and keep your mouth healthy. Since smoking encourages the growth of bacteria in the mouth, choose an antibacterial mouthwash that can kill the bacteria. 

4. Avoid Teeth-Staining Foods and Beverages

Highly acidic foods and beverages can cause stains and erode your enamel, and this is even more true for smokers who may already have weakened enamel. Stay away from coffee, soda, berries, and pasta sauce. And if you must consume them, do it in moderation. Foods rich in protein, vitamins, fiber, and calcium are best for the health of your teeth. These include leafy greens, celery, carrots, and cheese. 

5. Whiten Your Teeth

Nicotine and tar from cigarettes usually cause teeth stains over time. But the good news is that you can reverse these effects through professional teeth whitening. This procedure can remove even the deepest and most stubborn stains, and you will experience the results immediately. Ideally, get professional teeth whitening if you have already quit smoking. If you are still smoking, it won't be long before the nicotine and tar discolor your teeth again. 

6. Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Visiting your dentist regularly is the most reliable way to keep your oral health intact. First, your dentist will conduct professional cleanings to eliminate the buildup of tartar between your teeth and gums. They will also scrub your teeth to remove plaque. 

The dentist will also perform an oral examination to check for other deeper issues such as cavities, tooth decay, periodontitis, and oral cancer. Catching these problems early is crucial in managing or treating the problem. Due to the multiple oral health risks associated with smoking, visit your dentist at least twice a year. You may even need more frequent visits if you have an ongoing oral condition. 

Whether you're a smoker or ex-smoker, following the tips above can help maintain your oral health. And if you need a dental checkup, professional teeth whitening, or any other dental service, contact us at Airport Road Dental Associates, PC.